How I Work Project

How I Work #6: Kelly in Vermont

Welcome to another installment of How I Work!

How I Work #6 introduces Kelly Flynn, 41, an attorney in Weybridge, Vermont. After sixteen years, she is transitioning from corporate to advocacy work. Kelly enjoys hiking in the snow (“I’m terrified of snakes, so warm weather woods are out of the question”) and baking (“I won the big blue ribbon at the county fair!”). She is engaged in her community, serving on the board of the Addison County Parent Child Center in Middlebury, Vermont. Kelly is currently dedicated to homeschooling her three sons, ages 3, 6, and 8. And she has all the best coronavirus memes.

Kelly and I met this past February when we sat for the Vermont bar exam. We were tucked into the corner of the Hilton Burlington ballroom with the four other examinees who were handwriting their exam, a two-day ordeal of six essays, two case studies, and 200 multiple-choice questions. In retrospect, we were very lucky to take (and pass!) the test; being in a room with 100 people would now be unthinkable and impossible.

Kelly is sweet, elegant, and poised, with a fiery Irish streak. She and I spent the night between the two-day exam in the hotel bar, bonding over red wine and hamburgers and French fries, our conversation ranging from dogs to books to politics to skincare. Though we only live 45 minutes from each other in Vermont, our friendship is growing over text message as we quarantine at home. Read on for Kelly’s thoughts on how the coronavirus has affected how she works.

How has the pandemic changed your job and how you work?

As a licensed attorney in New York and Connecticut, I enjoyed a long-standing corporate career; however, most recently I have decided to follow my heart to provide advocacy work for those with disabilities and their families.

Kelly and the crew sport new at-home “quarantine haircuts”

The pandemic emerged immediately after I took the bar exam in Vermont, which should have marked the beginning of my new career. Quarantining not only delays my plans to make work connections, but as a mother of three young boys who are now home from school, I also find myself busy walking them through their school lessons.

What have you done to adjust?

Flexibility and creative thinking have been my most valuable tools in adjusting to this surprising time. Even though my timeline has to shift, it has given me the space to identify companion work.

Kelly’s new work space in her living room, accompanied by two new office mates

I have started an online class on grant writing and reviewed scholarship applications for college students in lesser developed countries, both things I might not have had the chance to do!

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned or encountered during this time?

A kindergarten home school lesson: using citrus to understand math-making patterns

The most surprising thing I have learned these past few weeks is that I am tackling tasks which were never on my radar (like practicing cursive writing with my 8-year-old and making sour dough bread).

How will these changes affect how you work in the future?

Although hard to predict, I am hopeful that these weeks will broaden and round out my initial career goals. Taking from this time the lesson of flexibility as well as the practice to pivot when coming up against an unforeseen obstacle.

Kelly oversees online schoolwork in the family workspace

Many thanks to Kelly for sharing her experience and insights and for supporting the How I Work Project!

What changes have you made to adjust to life and work during coronavirus?

Merci for reading and please subscribe and share!

À votre santé,


About the How I Work Project

The How I Work series on Joie de Vivre highlights how women around the world are adjusting, coping, and working from home during the coronavirus pandemic. It features professionals living in Australia, Turkey, the Netherlands, Germany, Japan, and the United States (from Detroit and Chicago to Alabama and Vermont).

Whether full-time or part-time, entry-level or retired, a student or a stay-at-home parent or an entrepreneur, we are working. And we all have something to share about how the pandemic effects our daily lives.

Sharing individual insights in a positive, constructive space creates a supportive digital community as we weather the storm of COVID-19 together. It also sheds light on the new normal of the collective lived experience of working during the time of coronavirus.


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