Making a Difference After the Military
While in the military, it’s common to feel like all your hard work has a purpose. You’re working to defend your country and save lives. Every day your actions had purpose, whether you were repairing vehicles or training new recruits.
But many veterans feel like once they leave the military, their life doesn’t have purpose. They aren’t serving their country anymore, but instead caring for themselves. Transitioning to civilian life is not simple, and many struggle to find a purpose.
A key part to being happy after the military is to find a new purpose — especially one that utilizes your military training — and fully commit to it. Whether it’s caring for your family, helping those less fortunate, assisting other veterans or building up your community, you have to find a new purpose to replace the one you felt in the military.
Caring For Your Family
Many veterans find purpose helping care for and being involved with their families. Especially for veterans just leaving the military, feeling like they belong within the family is very important.
There are many different ways to care for your family and get involved. Helping teach your kids, cleaning or improving your home, getting a civilian job to care for them financially — whatever it is, throw yourself into making your family happy.
Just caring for a family, though, is usually not enough for many veterans. They want to feel like they are helping out a lot of people, not just their own personal corner of the world. If this is the case for you, consider looking at careers or volunteer work that makes a difference.
Public Service Jobs
Being in the military was performing a public service. You risked your life to protect others — but just because you are no longer active in the military doesn’t mean your days of helping the world are behind you. Public service jobs can include all government careers, non-profit and charity organizations, and working in education.
There are tons of careers of all varieties in public service, but public admin jobs are often a great fit for veterans. Their experience with organizational structure and leadership within the military leads to a natural fit creating and managing policies and management organizations.
Working in a public or service job can be very rewarding. You can see your efforts directly benefiting the lives of others. This can include helping small businesses, your community, or advocating for those less fortunate.
Military Adjacent Jobs
Just because your time in the military is over, doesn’t mean you can’t still support them. Many careers revolve around helping active military or veterans in some way or another. You still get the benefit of feeling like you are doing something, but don’t have to be currently enlisted.
Working in a VA organization is one great example of this. VAs need tons of employees to help them run, from medical staff, to administrators, to blue collar jobs that make sure VAs can fully function.
Other organizations are dedicated to helping veterans that can benefit from your experience. Some focus on advocating for veteran rights, while others help out struggling veterans. For example, civilian lawyers with military experience are very valuable when it comes to military court cases.
If you are struggling to feel important, or are looking to make a difference after your time in the military, don’t simply give up. Do research into opportunities that use your skills to better the lives of others. Finding fulfillment in your life is incredibly important, so look for opportunities for you to help others, whether it’s your family, your community, or the whole world.