Before becoming involved in labor activism, Jan Hochadel was a science teacher at J.M. Wright Technical High School in Stamford and Kaynor Technical High School in Waterbury, Connecticut. Hochadel also worked as a beginning educator support team mentor and chemical hygiene officer within the Connecticut Technical High School System (CTHSS). In 2009, Hochadel joined an affiliate organization of CTHSS, the State Vocational Federation of Teachers, a local affiliate union of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). At the State Vocational Federation of Teachers, Hochadel sat on the union’s grievance and arbitration committee and worked as the building representative for J.M. Wright Technical High School. During this period, Hochadel also joined AFT Connecticut as the treasurer of the state employees’ unions coalition and joined its executive committee as jurisdictional vice president for members employed pursuant to the State Employees Relations Act. 
In May 2015, Hochadel was elected to a two-year term as vice president of AFT Connecticut and as a member of its organizing committee. In that same year, Hochadel also began to represent her chapter in the Connecticut AFL-CIO Leadership Board. In 2018, Hochadel was reelected and began to sit on AFT Connecticut’s Public Employees’ Program and Policy Council. In 2017, Hochadel was elected as Connecticut AFL-CIO executive vice president. 
In late 2018, Hochadel served on the transition committee of then Governor-elect Ned Lamont (D-CT). In 2019, Hochadel was elected to co-chair the Inter-American Regional Executive Committee of Public Services International, an international coalition of government worker labor unions. In spring 2020, Governor Lamont’s administration invited Hochadel to speak on the state’s “Reopen Connecticut” panel to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
On March 9, 2020, Hochadel presented testimony before the Connecticut General Assembly’s Education Committee regarding Connecticut Senate Bill 390, “An Act Concerning Minority Teacher Recruitment and Retention.” Hochadel’s testimony included a description of her experience as a teacher at J.M. Wright Technical High School and maintained that “students of color have better educational outcomes when they are exposed to teachers of color.” In her testimony, Hochadel noted that many of her students called her “mom” and regarded their experience with her very favorably even though she “did not look like their actual mother and had different experiences” due to her race. 
On January 3, 2020, the Connecticut Mirror published an opinion piece by Hochadel defending Connecticut State Treasurer Sean Wooden’s (D-CT) proposed “Responsible Gun Policy,” which would divest the Connecticut Teacher Retirement System pension fund from investments in companies which manufacture civilian firearms and ammunition. 
On September 20, 2020, the Connecticut Teacher of the Year Council, the Connecticut state chapter of the National Network of States Teachers of the Year, released a video on its YouTube Channel featuring Hochadel and praising the work of the organization and its members.