Doing What I Love Is Grinding Me Into A Fine Pulp with Lisa Sánchez | Crooked Media
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January 18, 2023
Work Appropriate
Doing What I Love Is Grinding Me Into A Fine Pulp with Lisa Sánchez

In This Episode

“Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” sounds like sage advice, but it doesn’t account for the burn-out, demoralization, constant churn, and low pay of so many passion jobs. Lisa Sánchez, city council member for Boise, Idaho, joins host Anne Helen Petersen to answer listeners’ questions on how to manage when a passion job is wearing you out.

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Anne Helen Petersen: Hi, everyone. This is Work Appropriate. And I’m your host Anne Helen Petersen. [music break] You know that phrase, do what you love and you’ll never work another day in your life? It feels very worn, very cliched. The sort of saying that has been around for decades, if not centuries, that the idea of trying to do what you love or even having much of a choice over what you get to do with your life, all of that is pretty new and wasn’t really popularized to the point of being an expectation until the early 2000s. That’s when Steve Jobs made the idea of following your passion the centerpiece of his commencement address at Stanford. That’s also right around when I graduated from college and the conversations with my friends, they centered on finding jobs, but specifically finding cool jobs that we loved. Jobs that were meaningful. Passion jobs. I have worked a lot of passion jobs over the last 20 years. Maybe you have too. And here’s what I know for sure. The cooler and more, quote unquote “lovable” a job is, the easier it is for that job to not only take over your life, but to exploit that love. Passion jobs often pay incredibly poorly, have bonkers hours, crappy managers, and just straight up lousy quality of life. And these jobs stay that way because if you decide you won’t suffer through it, there’s always someone else waiting in line to take your spot, maybe even for less pay or no pay at all. There are multiple problems with this scenario, burnout, demoralization, constant churn, and the fact that when a job pays less than a livable wage, then the only people who are able to take on that job will be the people who don’t need to make a living wage, a.k.a. people with family money or people who are willing to go into debt or live without a safety net in order to continue doing that work. For today’s episode, I wanted a co-host who’s thought about passion work in terms of burnout and frustration, but also as a type of work that creates particular burdens for people of color and for those from working class backgrounds. And I knew exactly who I wanted to ask. 


Lisa Sánchez: My name is Lisa Sánchez. I am the principal owner of Palote Power Consulting, and I have lived in Boise, Idaho. Oh, my goodness. My entire adult life. I just celebrated my 40th anniversary of being an Idahoan. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Wow. Amazing. I mean that’s how I first met you was when I was covering Idaho politics several years ago when I was at BuzzFeed News. And you and I had several conversations over the course of different stories I was reporting. And part of the reason I was in Idaho in the first place is because I grew up there and I felt really passionate about coming back and reporting on some movements that were happening in the state that really gave me heart, that really made me feel like there were people fighting to make Idaho into a place that is welcoming for all, which it has not historically been. And also, I just recognized through the course of that reporting, it’s also really hard work, exhausting work. So I think that that’s a good way to ask what are some jobs that you have had in Idaho that you would define as passion jobs? 


Lisa Sánchez: So my mom was a farm worker. I was a farm worker for a period of time. But, you know, when we first moved to Burley, Idaho, my mom couldn’t find work. No one would hire her. It was really demoralizing for my mom, and it was the first time I’d ever seen her cry when she took us to the welfare office to sign up for public assistance. And and that’s when she realized, you know, I’ve always wanted to be a restaurant owner. So since they’re not going to hire me, I guess I have to hire me. And so my mom opened up a restaurant and it forever changed my life and my brother’s life. For my brother and I, that was our both of our first job was working in my mom’s restaurant because she had to be an entrepreneur because nobody in Burley, Idaho, would hire her. And fortunately, there was a clothing store right next door to my mom’s restaurant, and the woman who managed that store was an amazing person named Raquel Castro Hernandez. And so I was so blessed. Here I am, a young Latina. I don’t see a lot of images of people like me being in leadership roles. And here I have two, I have my mother being my first boss. And then right next door is Rachel being my second boss who hired me after noticing that I kept loitering there. She’s like, Lisa you’re here all the time. Do you want to come work for me? [laughter] I said, yes, please. And so I worked at this clothing store all through high school. And and it was wonderful because, you know, some of these these passion jobs that we talk about, they’re not necessarily what we would imagine. You know, I think sometimes when we think of passion jobs, we think about those jobs that are that are mission driven, that are, you know, about helping people. And you might not think that a restaurant or a clothing store would be a passion job. But but they are. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yep. 


Lisa Sánchez: And, you know, to this day, it just it really moves me to think about, you know, what my work family did for me. They rooted for me. They knew that I didn’t belong in Burley, Idaho, that I belonged in Boise, Idaho. Did I know at that time that one day this community here in the capital city of our state would embrace me so thoroughly that they would vote me to the first Latina on their city council? Of course not. But I just think about, you know, when we think of passion jobs, yes, there is the passion that we put into the work, but there’s also the passion that we can put into each other as colleagues as well. 


Anne Helen Petersen: I love that we started this way because I think I oftentimes find myself talking about the pitfalls of passion, jobs, the exploitation, the burnout that comes with it. And I think that it’s a really great reminder to think about the reasons why we are drawn to passion jobs and also the untraditional jobs that actually are passion jobs. I’ve never really thought of running your own business as a passion job, and it absolutely is. So you describe your current job as a city council member, a passion job. And I think sometimes people don’t necessarily think of political positions themselves as passionate jobs. They might think of working on a campaign as kind of a passion job, but not the position itself. So what makes it a passion job for you? 


Lisa Sánchez: Well, here I had been working very happily as a full time paralegal and case coordinator for a quasi nonprofit state agency that provided legal services to low income individuals who are dealing with issues of domestic violence and and other social ills like that. About a week and a half after Donald Trump was elected our president, I was contacted by a lot of folks that I didn’t really have regular contact with, and one of them was a very nice woman named Rebecca [?] Lampman. And Rebecca and I met because we both got arrested at the Idaho State Capitol in 2014 in support of adding four words to the Idaho Human Rights Act, which is sexual orientation and gender identity. I worked for five years as a civil rights investigator for the state of Idaho, and I felt like I was muzzled, like I couldn’t be myself. And the minute I left that organization, I immediately got arrested in the name of human rights. [laughter] And so Rebecca— 


Anne Helen Petersen: Hey that’s part of a passion job that people don’t talk about, is like the potential to get arrested. 


Lisa Sánchez: Right? Exactly. Rebecca reached out to me about a week and a half after Donald Trump was elected, and she said, Lisa, I don’t know if you know this about me, but my husband and I own and run a dairy in Bruneau, Idaho, and we are horrified about what’s coming with this new president. You know, all our employees are Hispanic. We depend on them for our livelihood. They depend on us to provide them a livelihood. We are we are one unit and we want to make sure that we’re all okay. So she goes, I’ve reached out to the ACLU of Idaho Community Council of Idaho. I’m putting information together so we’re acting out of knowledge and not fear. And I’m going to before I pay somebody to translate this letter into Spanish so my employees can read it, because I put in the letter that if anybody harasses the kids at school to let us know and we will go down to the school and take care of it with mom and dad. But can you look at this letter and make sure I have everything that I should in this letter? So I print off the letter. I go to lunch with my two of my good girlfriends, and I’m reading the letter at P.F. Chang’s, and the three of us are sobbing. And by the time I get to the end of the letter, I say, girls, we’re going to be okay. There’s still good white people in Idaho. Look at Rebecca. She is not going to let anything happen to us without putting up a fight on our behalf. So I had a very real fear of what it meant that my country had elected a man like Donald Trump to be the president. Like, if they can do this, what else can they do? Can they decide that the Mexican part of my identity is the part that matters and not the American part? And so that was my call to action. Like I need to take up space with this citizenship that I was born with. And one of the things that I realized I could do was run for office. So my fear of what my country could possibly do to me overrode whatever fear I had of being not enough to be on the Boise City Council. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah, I want to drill down too, though, on like there are some slogs that are part of being a city council person, right? I know in Idaho there are oftentimes threats. There are some things that make it difficult to do your job. And so what are what are those parts? 


Lisa Sánchez: I know white folks are tired of hearing about racism. I get it. I promise you, no one’s more tired of it than me or any other person of color. And so I know that that’s some of the feedback I’ve gotten from folks like, uh does it always have to be about race? I’m like, I know does it? [laughter] But that’s the truth is I just can’t separate any experience and not have it be connected to that. So. So for me, the slog really did begin when I when I won my election because I was so naive about what it would mean for me as the first Latina to pursue a seat on the Boise city council, I, I didn’t know that it would be so upsetting to some people. And, and the first group of people that it was upsetting to was my employer. I went from being an employee who was getting, you know, high marks on their performance evaluations and getting a raise to I couldn’t do anything right. And so for ten months I endured workplace bullying and until I literally couldn’t take it anymore and I had to resign for medical reasons. And I applied for an employment and I was granted it. Which is weird because normally when you quit your job, you don’t get unemployment. So that what that led me to believe was okay, so they knew what they were doing. What they wanted was for me to be gone. Because seeing somebody like me being in this position of authority, they can’t stomach it, they can metabolize it. It’s made them feel small and they can’t stand the sight of me because I’m a constant reminder, I guess, of how much more they have to do with their own lives. And that was something that I was not prepared for. And so as a result, I have not worked full time. I have not found a job to work full time. 


Anne Helen Petersen: You’re your own boss, though. Right? 


Lisa Sánchez: I have had to do the same thing that my mother did. I have had to hire myself. And and it’s just as volatile as being a restaurant owner. You know, it’s not consistent. Politicians are not normally like me, and it’s and it’s it’s not something that is sustainable. In order for me to survive. The past few years, I’ve had to have college friends who are like, no, you’re not going to go into debt to serve the public. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Right. 


Lisa Sánchez: These are not things that I thought I was going to have to contend with. I, I thought I’d be able to serve and have a full time job and and just go about my day. But that’s how upsetting it is in the world that I live in that someone like me would dare to think they could be at that dais. And we don’t like to think about it because it’s not something that makes us feel proud as a community. We don’t like to think that we would behave that way, but it’s also part of my job. That’s part of the slog for me is I don’t get to continue the contract that people of color in Idaho have have kept, especially Latinos, especially people of Mexican descent. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah, I think this is a good transition into our first question, which is from someone who is weighing her options as she’s trying to figure out what to do as she enters a field that can often really grind people into a fine pulp. This question is from Molly and our executive producer. Kendra is going to read it. 


Molly: I’m a 44 year old transitioning careers into clinical mental health counseling. I’m faced with the choice of helping people who need it the most by slogging it out in the trenches of mental health clinics where I know I would be underpaid and overworked. The other option is I could start a private practice where I would probably be serving people who need it less. But I know I would be able to set my own workload, my own schedule, and I would be paid reasonably. I think I want to do the latter, but I really feel awful about it. 


Anne Helen Petersen: So Lisa, what is your initial reaction to this question? Like what would you what would you advise here? 


Lisa Sánchez: I think it’s wonderful that she’s doing this type of work. I mean, what we’ve all gone through during this pandemic, I don’t think we’ve ever leaned on our mental health providers as much. You know, a lot of folks who are taking care of our physical and mental health needs, they’re burning out with good reason. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yep. 


Lisa Sánchez: For me, this hits close to home because one of my best friends is a mental health provider. She’s a licensed clinical social worker and primarily works with children. And she’s also one of the few bilingual folks in her area here in Idaho who provides a service. But what she found in working in a clinic, you know, where you’re working with other providers and you’ve got a boss, so to speak. She found herself being mistreated by the receptionist, by the admin staff because it was hard for him. It’s similar to what I was just sharing with you. We are not used to seeing people of color in authority positions— 


Anne Helen Petersen: Mm yeah. 


Lisa Sánchez: —in leadership roles, and so my friend noticed that a lot of her stress was coming from the way she was treated because people didn’t think she should be in the position that she was in. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Right. 


Lisa Sánchez: And so at a time when people are really afraid to make any sort of transition, she did it with my encouragement and another friend’s encouragement to just go for it and open her her own shop. We have never seen our friend happier. But she also battled the same question that this caller is is dealing with. It’s like there’s a part of you that feels very compelled to help the most needy. Well, my friend tried it and she realized no, I can’t, I’m not cut out to do that. Well, she is fulfilled because she is able to work with folks who treat her with dignity and respect. They appreciate that they have somebody who is willing to work with them. She is of the same culture, and I have never seen my friend happier. She has control over her schedule. She is able to do as much as she can. Now, she does have a two income households, so that’s part of it. But if social media is to be believed, everything we see on social media of my friend is her spending time with her sons, her spending time with her husband, her really cultivating a full and complete life and not having it just be about the work. So I’d say I think it’s important maybe to try both. Maybe you do half and half. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Right, right. 


Lisa Sánchez: And after a while, maybe people’s values, they shift. And I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. I grew up in a culture that really valued service, but at times I wish my mom had not been so self-sacrificing because it really distorted my view of money. And so here I am kind of in the same boat where it feels right to be giving a portion of my life to public service that doesn’t pay a lot of money. And so struggling to be an entrepreneur because I still need to put food on the table, I still need to support myself. And it’s such it feels icky, it feels weird. But I’m starting to to learn through the help of my mental health care provider that it’s okay [laughter] that it’s okay for me to cultivate this business where I’m still in service to people. But then I also put a dollar amount and I that I value what I bring to the table through that work. 


Anne Helen Petersen: I love that you’re saying that she should try both, right? She should see what it actually feels like to be in the mental health clinics. You know, like I’m faced with the choice of helping people who need it most by slogging out in the trenches of the medical health clinics. And right now, at least at this point, it sounds like she only knows that by reputation. And I don’t think that people have to, like always have to experience something and to know that it’s not right for them. But I do think that there might be a way that you can, whether it’s doing it half and half or even if you set up a private practice, figuring out how you can still serve people at free clinics on the weekend. You know, I know a lot of doctors who do that sort of work. Like, there are different ways that you can still serve an underserved population, even if you’re in private practice. Is there any other advice that you would give to Molly moving forward with this decision? 


Lisa Sánchez: Absolutely. And I think you just touched on it, that there’s more than one way to fulfill that, that part of your spirit that feels that you need to give back. I would say perhaps mentor people like like my friend Christina. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. 


Lisa Sánchez: You know, we do need people from diverse backgrounds to fill these roles. There’s not enough bilingual mental health providers. There’s not enough people from diverse backgrounds fulfilling those roles. And so to have somebody who is open to being a mentor and to helping cultivate more people to join this field that is so in such desperate need of diversity, I think that would be a wonderful way to give back. [music break]




Anne Helen Petersen: Our next question is from Sharon, who is feeling the pain of a passion career that has never had boundaries. And it’s a long one, but our producer, Melody, is going to read it for us. 


Sharon: I am struggling with how to draw boundaries when I have worked without them for years. I am passionate about my mission driven job and very committed to the collaborative relationships I have fostered with colleagues and clients. I care about them and I care about my work. I have come to recognize and appreciate that this depth of caring is what makes me me. I bring my full heart and soul to my work each day, and I can’t imagine quiet quitting or dialing back the authentic care and concern I feel for what I do. However, I am tired. No, I am exhausted. My care and concern well is being depleted by work, leaving me with very little for my family and community. I know I am providing hours and hours of unpaid labor for my company, which, while mission driven, is still very much a capitalist machine. While the work I do day to day feels focused on the right things. The organization overall is focused on the bottom line and growing revenue year after year. Even if we don’t have the staff capacity to sustain a constant rate of growth as people like me, people who give too much, they keep things going. I have been acknowledged for my efforts and promoted, but I am still radically underpaid compared to colleagues who I know do way less and who care far less than I do. But I’m not sure how to change my relationship to work or how to establish boundaries that have been nonexistent to date without changing jobs and would even be better in a new job or company. Would I maintain the same pattern but just with a different backdrop? Do I have the life energy to go through that type of transition, at least where I am now, where I’ve been for over ten years is financially secure and as the primary breadwinner in my family with two young children, this matters a lot. Plus, my position is stable and I know the culture and climate. And yet something in my gut tells me everything about my current situation is problematic. I am trading my life energy for company profits and the company is benefiting from my willingness to do so. And my family is suffering. Help. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Uh. I mean, I think she’s got to get out of there. Lisa, what do you think? 


Lisa Sánchez: You know, I remember when I when I worked for the Girl Scouts many years ago, I was so excited to work for this organization that had a mission built into it. And, you know, as a former Girl Scout lifetime member of the Girl Scouts, it was for sure a passion job. But I think what can happen with these jobs is you do you forget yourself. You forget that you’re somebody who needs 6 to 8 hours of sleep, that that you are a part of a larger life and that and that you actually in order to be a good employee, you need to be a full person. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yep. 


Lisa Sánchez: And I know for myself, you know, I, you know, didn’t have a partner, didn’t have children. There was no built in boundary at my house to help rein me in. So I, I realized that three years into the job, I was starting to get that urge to move on. And I remember looking at my resume as I was starting to to look for the next gig. And I noticed a pattern that I stayed at a job no longer than three years. And I thought to myself, I thought, you know, how about we try this? How about we reinvent our existence at this job rather than flee a situation that’s not satisfying anymore, for whatever reason? How about we turn and face it and address it, which I’d never done before? And so that began my journey into mental health. [laughter]. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yup. 


Lisa Sánchez: And. And it also involved me going back to finish my that last year’s school at Boise State. I decided to just instead of leaving my situation, I decided to alter my situation. And it was a good thing because what I realized in having no boundaries about how much time I gave to work, I mean, seriously, when I left the Girl Scouts and I looked at my wardrobe, all I had were mom jeans and like 30 different shades of Girl Scout T-shirts [laughter] which, you know, I’m like, okay, that’s great for the job I had. But that’s not really going to work with whatever new job you take on. But it just also spoke to how I was never off the clock. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Right. 


Lisa Sánchez: If I if I was in the line at WinCo with you, I was going to recruit you to do [laughter]  something with the Girl Scouts as I am purchasing my milk and eggs. And I saw that as passion and it certainly was, but also it lacked boundaries. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Mm hmm. 


Lisa Sánchez: And so I would say that’s an opportunity. It’s like, yeah, you can absolutely leave or you can be a pioneer and you can you can help to raise the consciousness of where you work, because that was the thing I hadn’t realized is like, you know what? There are people at work who really resent me because here I am working 60 hours a week because I have the capacity, because no one’s waiting at home for me to make dinner. My other colleagues did have that. They did have people waiting for them at home and to have the pressure of this maniac Lisa Sánchez who can’t stop— 


Anne Helen Petersen: You kept like setting the bar higher. 


Lisa Sánchez: Yes. 


Anne Helen Petersen: And other people resented it. Yeah, I’ve totally been there. 


Lisa Sánchez: Yeah. And it was and it wasn’t healthy. 


Anne Helen Petersen: No. 


Lisa Sánchez: It wasn’t healthy because and it was a hard lesson for me to learn. I had made that workplace, my family, but they had not made me their family. And it was a it was a rude awakening when I left the organization to realize, no, Lisa, that work, you get a paycheck for that. That’s the love you receive. If you want more love, ask for a raise. But they’re not. [laughter] It’s a there is an endless well of need. If you want to give more effort to your job, they will gladly take it. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yes, yes they will take it 100%. 


Lisa Sánchez: There are very few workplaces that I’ve been where I’ve had supervisors who have been that mindful. I have had them and they’re wonderful because they’re like, they care about you as a human being. But ultimately we need to be the ones to care about ourselves as those human beings. 


Anne Helen Petersen: I think in this particular position how she describes it and just because she’s been there for a while too, I think that maybe her identity is so cemented, the type of work that she does. Like it’s just really it would be really difficult for her to change it. I think she also needs to go to therapy specifically for work, like a lot of people need to go to therapy specifically for work if she’s not already in it, because, as she says, like she’s scared that she’ll just develop these habits at another job. And that’s really true. A lot of times changing the job does not change your relationship to work, right? It just changes who’s signing the paycheck. But I think at this point, she very clearly understands that the company is taking advantage of her willingness to to serve this mission. And either she can dramatically reinvent her position within the company or she probably has an incredible skill set that will be very valuable on the job market and is so used to people not really valuing it within her own company that it’s difficult for her to see the attributes that would be valuable to other people. And it’s sometimes you need someone to be able to like highlight that for you that yes, you have a lot of skills, you are very valuable. 


Lisa Sánchez: Yeah, I think for sure the first step should be the therapist. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. 


Lisa Sánchez: I think there’s a lot of us who, especially if we grew up, I think in families where, you know, maybe we did have single moms and maybe whether our families realize it or not, maybe this culture of you have to perform to receive the love, the attention. And, you know, it doesn’t stop. You know, when you leave your family, you carry it with you. And that was something I learned in therapy, was like, oh, my mom worked 100 hours a week. My mom was my mom was always, always busy. And I was starved for that attention that she was giving seemingly to everybody else. And so now I have to work really hard and realize, you know what? You deserve love just because you exist. You don’t have to perform all the time. You don’t always have to sacrifice yourself, because then you feel really resentful when you don’t get that love that you think you deserve or that you’ve earned. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Right. And it has to. There are other places that are going to love you back too outside of your workplace. And I think that that’s really valuable to to remember. So, okay, our advice here. Therapy, first and foremost and I don’t like we don’t use this as a blanket answer on this podcast, but I think in this particular case, therapy would really help with her articulated relationship with work and then thinking through like, what is my value as a worker and how can I how can I continue to reconceptualize that? But also, I think she should quit. That’s my personal. [laughter] Okay. So last question is about reckoning with your current state of burnout and trying to figure out next steps. And this is a question from someone who got out and is wondering about the recovery process from burnout. So here’s Caroline. 


Caroline: I left my passion job in higher education, along with countless others in the Great Resignation. I leveraged my undergraduate degree and now I’m a project manager. I am recognizing that by being in a passion job, my life was built around my work and my value outside of work came from what I poured into that last job. I can appreciate the ability to check out from work and my new role, but after six months I’m seeing that a clear worklife boundary and a better salary might not be enough. My question is about recovering from the burnout of a passion job. What does that process look like and how much time is ever enough to recover? 


Anne Helen Petersen: I think that this is something that a lot of people are experiencing right now or about right now where they got out of jobs that they realized were not for them, you know, either before COVID, during COVID, whatever, they had like a revelation were like, we got to fix this in our lives. And then they switch jobs and they’re like, oh, but like being paid more. It doesn’t fix everything. So what would your advice be to this person? 


Lisa Sánchez: Here’s what I think. I think we shouldn’t be afraid to try new things. You know, when I realized, oh, I have this pattern where I quit my jobs three years in, and then I move on to the next experience. And so I decided, well, how about the new experience is going to be me staying. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. 


Lisa Sánchez: And trying to reinvent this. And so for me that that was going back to school and finishing my degree. But I think it also had a ripple effect. You know, my my employer was used to and comfortable with me working those long hours and me providing an element that was needed at my workplace that nobody else was bringing. So I my passion was to do outreach. I love to invite people to be a part of our organization who had not considered being a part of our organization, like people who lived on Indian reservations or people who lived in farmworker housing. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. 


Lisa Sánchez: And the thought of me finishing my degree, I think, sent a signal to my boss that uh oh, I might lose my Lisa Sánchez. And so the next thing you know, I’m offered this four week trip to England through the group Study Exchange through Rotary. And I’m like, great, thanks, boss. I look forward to that. [laughter] And the next thing you know, I also get a promotion I didn’t ask for. I went from being a membership marketing specialist to being the director of development. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Wow. 


Lisa Sánchez: And and so I did get that bump in pay. But that that year that I was in that role, I hated it. The extra $12,000 a year in salary bump that I got meant nothing because I was miserable. Now, was I miserable because I was a bad fit for the job? I don’t know. Was I miserable because maybe my boss, as wonderful as she was maybe wasn’t the best mentor for me in that position. I think maybe the latter is true, but I don’t regret that I tried it that I got to see okay, so money isn’t everything. And that’s not the only time I’m going to be in that position. So I just I think people shouldn’t be afraid to try new things because nothing’s forever. The good stuff doesn’t last forever, and neither does the bad stuff. And at the end of the day, you can pat yourself on the back for being brave and trying something new. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. And I think one thing, especially if you’ve been in a job where you weren’t making enough money to feel really stable, which oftentimes people working in certain passion jobs are in that position, you might get out of that and you’re making enough money. But the work itself is is less stimulating in all different sorts of ways. But that stability is offering you a moment to really think about what do I want? Right. And that stability and also like the better work life boundaries. Like all of that stuff, what it is, is it’s giving you space to think. And that space for contemplation will allow you to seek out. What you do really want, you know, having that firm foundation that you can like look around and think about not just different paths that you want to take, but also like apply very sparingly to jobs, like only jobs that you would absolutely love. Having that place of stability to move from is invaluable and a great place to be, I think. And that’s a I think a more interesting question right now than like, how do I recover from the burnout? It’s like you are recovering already, like you are in the process and now you get to start to think about what’s next. 


Lisa Sánchez: Absolutely. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Was there anything else that you would add for that person if they were just like thinking in this job like, I’m bored? Any other advice that you would offer? 


Lisa Sánchez: You know, I think sometimes when we get into as as we’ve been calling them these passion jobs, they do become part of our identity and sometimes they become central to our identity. And I think the reason, as we look around what’s been happening over the last few years, where we had people really taking taking the leap and trying something different, I think it’s because we have really shifted in the way we view our lives and that we don’t always look to our jobs for a sense of self anymore. I think that’s also part of why there’s been not a rush to return to these workplaces is because people are starting to have a bigger view of who they are in this world, not just someone’s employee, but somebody’s son, somebody’s daughter, somebody’s friend. And people, I think, are starting to expand in the kind of life that they’ve built for themselves and their values are shifting. So I think the fact that this person is even examining this, I think really speaks to it. And I’d say keep doing that, you know, embrace all that life has to offer. And life certainly has to offer more to us than a workplace and a paycheck. 


Anne Helen Petersen: That’s the perfect way to end this episode. Lisa Sánchez thank you so much for joining me today. Where can people find you if they want to hear more from you? 


Lisa Sánchez: Please send me an email, old school email. [laughter] You can you can contact me at Lisa Sá So it’s LisaSá 


Anne Helen Petersen: You also have a nice Twitter account. I will say. 


Lisa Sánchez: Oh, I do. 


Anne Helen Petersen: What’s your handle on Twitter? 


Lisa Sánchez: That’s right. I’m @LisaforBoise. 


Anne Helen Petersen: Amazing. [music break] Thanks so much to Lisa Sánchez for joining me today. And thanks to you for listening to Work Appropriate. If you’ve got a workplace quandary, you want help figuring out, get in touch. You can find submission guidelines at, or you can send a voice memo with your question to Work Appropriate at We’ve got an episode in the works about setting and maintaining boundaries. So if you’ve got a question about that, let us know. Work Appropriate is a Crooked Media production. I’m Anne Helen Petersen, your host. Our executive producers are Kendra James and Sandy Girard. Melody Rowell is our producer and editor. Alison Falzetta is our development producer. Music is composed by Chanell Crichlow. Additional production support from Ari Schwartz and a special thanks to Katie Long and Sarah Geismer. You can follow me on Instagram @AnneHelenPetersen. You can sign up for my newsletter at Next week we’re getting into questions about coworkers that just make you heave a big sigh and ask why are people like this?