How To Find Meaning After The Military: Find A Place To Excel Where You Can Help Others

The Long March
U.S. Marine Corps/ Pfc. Christian Ayers

This is the 11th entry in our contest about finding meaningful endeavors after leaving the military.


Colin Blair writes: My transition from the military was simply disastrous: a technical disqualification from my hometown’s police department coincided with a failed marriage and a profound sense of uncertainty as to who I was and how I could leverage my strengths in the civilian world.

After almost four months of feverish searching, I landed a job with Alaska’s Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management, traveling across the state’s remote towns to develop emergency response plans.

It was during this travel that I gained perspective, and with it meaning: while this position may have lacked the status and camaraderie implicit in military life, I had the chance to improve communities in desperate need of help and of recognition that their existence mattered to the outside world.

While I’ve since moved on to another career, I’ve found that meaning – in your work or post-military life – is the intersection of efforts to excel in the position you’re in (even if you hate it) and the sum of the mark you make on the community around you.

Join a Crossfit gym, plan activities with a local Team RWB chapter, explore your faith community; make a genuine effort to improve yourself and the lives of those around you, and you won’t be disappointed.” 

A pair of U.S. Navy Grumman F-14A Tomcat aircraft from Fighter Squadron VF-211 Fighting Checkmates in flight over Iraq in 2003/Department of Defense

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