Here’s no. 14 in our contest about finding meaning in work after the military.

Tim O’Hair: “I served four years in the Marine Corps and am now — six years later — in my second year as a prosecutor with a state Attorney General’s office. It took a long time to get there because I only had a bachelor’s degree when I EAS’d, and a low one at that.

Obviously the post-military schooling came first, but I wasn’t going to get into a good law school with my undergrad degree, so I went overseas and did a one-year master’s degree first.

That was a great way to reinitiate myself in academia, improve my law school prospects, and prepare for the rigorous academic setting law school would present. Then, once in law school, I actively sought internships with local and state prosecutor’s offices. I interned in the Attorney General’s office my entire third year of school and was hired upon passing the bar.

In short, I was hired four years after I discharged, but the good news was that the GI Bill paid for everything (including my overseas Master’s degree) — in fact, it paid me $2300 a month while I was in school (BAH). So while it took me some time, I did not accrue significant debt.

Being a prosecutor is just as meaningful to me as my career in the military.

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Both careers provided the higher satisfaction of serving something greater than myself. In the military, it was my country. I felt that it was my duty as an able person to give my four years and I knew — even when I was doing what seemed like the most minuscule task — that I was helping this great machine move forward.

And upon exiting the military, I was worried that I would not find something that gave me that same deep sense of satisfaction. Indeed, my initial job offers (when I was debating between going straight to work or going back to school) were warehouse manager positions and sales positions that paid decently but lacked that sense of meaning.

I needed to serve. And being a prosecutor does exactly that but on a local level.

I’ve prosecuted murders, rapes, child molestations, robberies, and many other crimes. The victims are desperately seeking justice. The satisfaction might be confined to a more local purpose, but is much more concrete and immediate. I cannot say which gives me greater satisfaction, but I certainly do not find myself wanting for more meaning in my career.

I feel fortunate to have felt that deep sense of satisfaction now in both careers I have had, although in very different ways.”