Meet Sarah Hockett: A Multipod on a Mission, Career Coach, Audio Storyteller
Sarah is a soul-sister who I feel so blessed to know, and the phenomenal producer of our Tales from the Journey podcast!
When we decided to start featuring purpose-driven individuals here on the blog each month, she was at the top of the list. She’s a brilliant, strategic, and creative entrepreneur who understands what it means to be multi-passionate.
Sarah’s purpose work is so incredibly important, too. Especially during these times of massive transition in industries of all kinds. I’m so excited for you to meet her and learn more about her path! Plus, check out these cool books she’s created.
Who you are, what you do, and who you serve?
As someone with ALL the work trauma, a fair amount of personal trauma, and too many lessons learned the hard way, I’m on a mission to be the person I needed while going through the worst of it.
The biggest Band-Aid that I used during the height of my trauma was always having someone’s voice in my ear to inspire me. I listened to podcasts and audiobooks constantly, and these authors and hosts became a lifeline for me. A light in the darkness. A happy place when I was so terribly unhappy.
For this reason, I love to help others tell their stories through podcasts, audiobooks, and voiceovers. We all have stories to tell, knowledge to share, beautiful works of art that need a voice, awesome products that the world needs to know about. I want to make this platform as accessible as possible to everyone because I strongly feel that we just never know who might be walking around with a hole in their heart in the shape of our words. Beyond the Band-Aids, I work as a Career Coach for anyone feeling lost, stuck, burned out, frustrated, pissed off, or even just “meh” about their job or careers.
Work trauma is a very real thing, and it touches so many aspects of our lives.
When I was going through the worst of this work trauma, I was desperately seeking out a coach to help me figure out what to do next, and nearly every single person I spoke with told me I just needed to quit my job. That simply wasn’t possible at the time due to both finances and mindset. It wasn’t until someone helped me with real, personalized solutions that I began to heal and grow and step into the person I was supposed to be.
With that in mind, that’s exactly what I offer: Real, personalized solutions to help you find a little happiness where you are while creating your version of success and discovering your path to career happiness. This can look wildly different for each person from navigating tricky work situations, uncovering new ways to communicate, setting boundaries, creating an escape plan, landing a new job, learning to trust yourself, figuring out what the hell you actually like, starting a side hustle, or making a plan to jump into entrepreneurship.
What does purpose mean to you, and how does your work allow you to live yours more fully?
First and foremost, I don’t think any of us can truly and fully step into our purpose until we are ready to understand and embrace who we truly are under all of the masks that society often demands of us.
Only when we strip all of that away and fall in love with what’s underneath can we begin the path to our purpose work. I think purpose means something a little different for everyone. But for me, it means taking all the experiences that I had and making them mean something; using what I learned the hard way to pave an easier and more pleasant path for others. It means stepping FULLY into my authenticity and showing up in the world in a different way than what I had been used to. It means showing up as myself in every single situation, and no longer making myself small. It means letting my heart, which has always been filled with empathy and the desire to help others, take the lead more. It means creating time and space to do the things that light me up both in business and in life. It means doing the work that feeds me energy instead of draining me, and it means having an impact that I am excited about and proud of. Even if what I’m doing or how I’m doing it goes against the norm—like embracing my multipotentiality and running two businesses side by side with parallel goals.
What challenges have you faced that shaped who you are and your work in the world? How did you overcome them, and what did you learn?
Oh gosh, where do I start? Due to certain circumstances, my winning strategy from a very young age became to put my head down and work ALL the hours. I started working from the time I was 14, and I worked every weekend and most evenings through high school. In college (which I was actively discouraged from attending), I worked full-time hours alongside a full course load. I learned that complete exhaustion leads to success. For a long time, this strategy served me well. I grew rapidly at every company I worked for, always earning promotions, getting raises and bonuses, or finding it easy to get hired at jobs where I had little to no experience.
By my early 20s, I found myself always “on.”
I was constantly answering work messages and calls at all hours and always putting out fires, taking on new things that were WAY outside my job description because I enjoyed learning new things and thought that was how to get ahead. After many bad jobs, I got hired as a copywriter for a small publishing and marketing company. During my time there, I took on loads of duties beyond copywriting. I did all the editing. I was the office manager. I took on some graphic work and a ton of marketing work. I took care of all of our files, photography, and interviews. I also took on many unrelated projects to further my boss’s political career, such as speech-writing, her newspaper column, and special projects for the city.
I earned fast-food wages, had no benefits, and could barely afford life. My bad bosses would do kind things here and there, like buy me a car battery because I couldn’t afford one with the salary I made there, then paint themselves as heroes for doing so. After a year at this job, I was up for my review. They had told me that if I did a good job, I could get a raise in a year. In said review, they sang my praises. “You do such an awesome job. You can do absolutely anything we throw at you. You’re such an asset to us.” I thought I was getting a raise until the blow hit. “But we’re not going to give you a raise.” When I asked why, they told me, “It’s not our fault your husband likes to play video games and can’t support you.”
From that job, I learned that enjoying your work isn’t always enough and that no matter how hard you work and how much you take on, sometimes you can’t make someone see your value.
From there, I went to my next job, where I worked for six extremely trauma-filled years. I spent the first two working for their for-profit company, where I kicked ass their marketing director with the numbers to back it up. I got a huge raise, and a month later, they sold one of their other companies. They decided that they would bring in the marketing director from that company—who was freshly out of school, had only been working for them for a couple of months, and had zero industry experience—to be my boss. And for more money than I had ever made while I still did most of the tasks.
After that incident, I nearly left. I literally had ALL of my things packed up, ready to walk out immediately upon talking with my boss. I had another job lined up, and I was feeling good about taking a beat. But they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. They offered me a role I really wanted—starting and running their international nonprofit. When I took it, I knew all the things wrong with working for these people. By then, I had worked with them for over two years, but the ability to help others and get paid to do it while getting to learn something new all the time was too enticing. I took the role. And while it ended so badly, I have no regrets. I spent the next four years working in some of the most undeveloped nations, bringing sustainable solutions to big problems. After three years of this, I could no longer deny that this was a really unhealthy work environment, but I loved the work so much, I stayed. I tried to make the best of it.
That third year of working for the nonprofit was incredibly frustrating. I would show up for meetings, and my bosses wouldn’t come. In the meetings they did show up for, I was talked over and asked to explain things that we had been over time and time again. We didn’t do any projects that year because I couldn’t get anything approved despite bringing tons of plans to the table. They didn’t even look at most. This went on for a full calendar year. Near the end of that year, they started doing all the performance reviews for their for-profit company. My review had always been on the same schedule. And as such, they sent me my self-eval along with everyone else, except my review was never scheduled. Months passed. The end of the year passed. The new year started with everyone in the for-profit company enjoying their bonuses and raises.
After about two months of me periodically asking, they responded unprofessionally, but the “review” was finally scheduled. Only it wasn’t a review. In that meeting, they told me what I already knew. They’d lost their passion for the nonprofit, and it had become a point of stress. I knew that part. What I wasn’t prepared for was what came next. They told me that they felt that the organization had plateaued and that they thought the only way for it to grow would be to hire me a boss. I was floored.
In the months that followed, things only got worse. I convinced them to hire a consultant who told them everything I’d been telling them for the last four years. When they brought up hiring a boss for me, the consultant told them she didn’t think I needed a boss; she thought I needed a team because she didn’t believe one person could do all the things I’d been doing. They disagreed. They didn’t want to be overly involved in something that was a point of stress for them, so against professional advice, they moved forward with hiring me a boss, tasking me with writing and posting the job description, weeding through resumes, and conducting first interviews. That July, they hired someone and paid him more than twice as much as what I made with about 1/16 of the responsibilities.
I spent several weeks training him before he came to our office to meet in person. In those two and a half days, I trained him on more things, introduced him to our board, and got to sit in meetings where he presented my ideas as his own, and they ate them up. They’d seen these before; he didn’t even bother trying to make new docs. Midway through the third day of this hell, I got fired. As if that wasn’t bad enough, I fulfilled all my separation requirements in less than 24 hours, wanting to be done. I was given the all-clear from HR and told my last check and measly severance would be directly deposited the following week.
Fast forward to early the following week. I got a message from a friend who still works there. She tells me that one of the bosses asked her to reach out to see what they need to do for several items of an upcoming annual fundraiser that was large-scale and that I had been handling primarily on my own for years. I responded to her message to say that I was sorry they put her in the middle and that I felt like they decided they could handle all of these things on their own the moment they fired me. They requested to see the exchange, and then something even wilder happened. That Friday, I woke up to the notification from my bank that funds had been deposited. I felt immediately relieved. I had no idea what I was going to do next, but I knew that I was 100% done with these people, or so I thought.
Later that day, I got a message from my former boss. It said that they would release my severance funds when I helped them with the fundraiser. I thought that was odd since I’d seen the funds in my account that morning. They had reversed the payment and were holding it hostage until I did what they wanted. I called a lawyer over this who told me what they had done was wildly illegal, especially when I had a paper trail confirming I had met my requirements. But the amount was so minimal that my best bet if I needed that money, which I did, was to do what they wanted and hope they wouldn’t pile more on.
I learned so much from that job, but again, the big thing was that no matter how much you love the work, it’s not worth it if you know there’s something toxic in your work environment.
I was reminded again that you can’t make someone see your value no matter how hard you work. Most importantly, I learned never to make your job a part of your identity. Because I ran that org primarily by myself, most people knew me as the *insert org name* girl. I also learned from this job that the body keeps a score. I spent pretty much all of my time there always on and always stressed, and my body absolutely kept a score.
In the last two and a half days, my heart rate was never below 165 bmp. YIKES. From there, I landed what I thought would be a long-term career with a large company. They paid way better, had better benefits, more room for growth, and I was on the fast track to a path that was super enticing to me. Five months later, I was laid off in the worst way. The company decided to do some downsizing. They scrapped my project entirely, along with my team and several members of other teams, all on the same day. The problem was that there were two last-minute additions on the long list of those about to get axed, one of which was me. The two of us found out we were being downsized when we received an email from payroll letting us know they would be sending our last checks. Whoops.
I learned here to trust myself when I see red flags because signs were there from the very beginning. I spent several months floundering after that. I had a lot of setbacks and became deeply depressed. I took a job that felt like death. It felt like I had stepped backward in my career by more than a decade. BUT while this job had many issues, including low pay and a long commute, this is where my healing journey began. My boss was a real boss, my team was a real team, and my time off was my own. Through these experiences, I learned to identify my winning strategies and pick them apart to see the parts that wouldn’t work for who I wanted to be. I learned that downtime is essential for understanding yourself. I learned that joy is a crucial part of life. I learned that boundaries are vital. I learned to start trusting myself and following the nudges of the universe. I looked back at all the hard things I had accomplished and realized I could do any damn thing I wanted to.
I learned that we must all find our own definition of success, but to do that, we must first get to know ourselves enough to understand what we really want without all the noise of others’ expectations.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give someone trying to live their purpose?
Trust yourself. When we make decisions from a place of trust, that’s where the magic starts to happen and things start to fall into place. Choosing our paths from a place of trust puts us in alignment with who we are and what’s meant for us, and as we step more and more into trust, our road can become a lot smoother.
What’s inspiring you right now?
My clients are a constant source of inspiration. I get to see them learn and grow, tell their awesome stories, and step into who they are supposed to be, and that makes me double down on what I do because this is something that brings me more joy than I ever thought possible.
Nature is also a constant inspiration for me. I try to make time regularly to spend time in the great outdoors, and I find that often my best ideas come to me when I’m spending time outside. And, all of the mutipotentialite things. Emilie Wapnick’s TedTalk and book. Refuse to Choose, a book by Barbara Sher. THE GREAT RESIGNATION—this is such a big one for me. It’s freaking awesome to see employees taking back the power, leaving shitty jobs, prioritizing life, and demanding better. I’m so freaking here for it.
Tell us some fun, random, or interesting facts about yourself!
- I grew up on a farm in Iowa and had all the room to roam and all the animals when I was a kid.
- I now have four dogs and a cat and they all have their own unique voices courteously of yours truly. Yes, they talk to each other and to us humans all the time.
- I actually really love videos games, something I rediscovered when I started giving myself time to enjoy life again. My all-time favorite is Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild on Nintendo Switch.
- When it was time to clear my home office of all the bad ju-ju of past jobs (I’ve worked from home for many, many years) I completely redid the space complete with vibrant colors, glitter wallpaper, and all the Wonder Woman and Star Wars goodies I could fit. This is now my happy place. 🙂
Sarah Hockett is a multi-passionate entrepreneur on a mission to be the supportive and action-oriented mentor she needed when she was trying to navigate feeling stuck, lost, and unhappy. She’s a master of strategy, a big-picture thinker, a creativity junkie, a builder of innovative teams and profitable brands, a lifetime learner, and a sucker for adorable puppies! Her biggest pet peeves include bad bosses and toxic workplaces.
Her passion lies in bringing ideas into reality and empowering people to live their best, happiest, and most authentic lives doing work they LOVE.
After years of her own workplace trauma, Sarah started a business centered around audio storytelling to help more people share their stories with the folks who need to hear them most. Through her offerings, she helps new podcasters get their awesomeness and big ideas out on a global scale, assists authors in reaching even more people through audiobooks, and helps businesses tell their stories through voiceover services.
After quitting her day job, Sarah found tremendous joy in her purpose work and wanted to help more people find their way to career happiness and fulfillment, which is how Sorry For Your Boss was born. She realized that people had been coming to her for years to navigate tricky workplace situations, get new jobs, or start their businesses. She’s now determined to reach as many people as possible and help them work through their best career options—because life is too short to be miserable for 40+ hours a week, and we often have more options than we realize.
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