Laurie is an hourly wage employee, a published author and a speaker from Missoula, Montana. A few years ago, after decades of struggle, Laurie was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She decided to take matters into her own hands. If she could beat it, she wanted to let other people know they could beat it as well. So, she wrote a book about her struggle with the disorder.
"When I was first diagnosed, I just started writing for therapy. I was a school teacher, but I wasn't a writer. I decided this might be something that could help someone else. I had misgivings until the very end...Do I really want to do this and put this out there? What are my bosses going to think? I have found that, I think the stigma [and the shame] rests more with yourself."
After her book, I Am Laurie, hit the shelves, Laurie began speaking at nearby schools, universities and churches to educate others about mental illness. This is Laurie's true calling and her passion.
In her full-time hourly job, Laurie is a downtown ambassador for Missoula. She walks the city streets interacting with local businesses and tourists, but also she works with the transient population keeping them from breaking city ordinances.
Walking with her for the day, I was worried for her knowing she spends so much of her time with the homeless. Some of the men, obviously drunk, would yell and curse at her. She didn't flinch. She kept her calm and approached them like a fellow human being. She told them it would be more comfortable to go lay on the grass and explained the city doesn't allow people to sleep on the sidewalks. She offered help and understanding and friendship.
I watched as a barefoot woman excitedly ran up to Laurie asking how she was doing. Laurie stood talking with a group of three men and one woman, all in tattered clothing with weathered faces. Many of these people suffer from mental illnesses, just like Laurie, whether it be bipolar disorder or PTSD.
You see, Laurie's passion is talking to students and adults about mental illnesses. She aims to remove the stigma so that those suffering from mental illnesses can learn how to fully live. This is her calling, but she isn't working her hourly job just for income.
Laurie found a job that complements her passion--a job that many people would turn away from at that! She found a way to do work she loves by interacting with those who share her struggles.
So if your dream is to write a novel, work in a bookstore. If you want to be a financial adviser, work as a bank teller. If you want to play professional baseball, work on the grounds crew or coach little league. If you want to be an artist, work in an art museum. Whatever your passion is, you can find an hourly job that will not only pay the bills, but also inspire you to keep going.