Sometimes You Need a Bridge Job With a “M.E.A.L. Plan” to Change Careers |

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What do I mean by a “M.E.A.L. Plan” TM ? It has nothing to do with the cafeteria at your college or school. It can make a big difference in stepping up into a new career.

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As I've gotten more involved with career coaching, as I've helped more people do transitions along the way in their career, one of the things I've been doing is looking at methodologies for helping people make choices.
There's an interesting idea that a fellow named Mitch Mathews has developed. He talks about bridge jobs. In the old days, we used to talk about them as stepping stones in your career. That is, if you think of the notion of a stepping stone in a pond, it's a way that you're able to traverse from one side of a creek to another, of a lake or a river to the other side. It's a smart idea.
Here, he thinks in terms of a bridge job, and the notion of the bridge job is one where . . . he's trademarked a term for it . . . That the job should have a M.E.A.L. plan to it. I think it's a funny term but just follow me for a second as I walk you through his idea and he goes into more depth in the book that was released in January 30 2018 called
"Dream Job Redefined: The New Rules for Creating a Career That Matters and Doing the Work That You Love." I hate the term, "dream job." I think it's hard to find something that really is a dream job. It's also abused by recruiters to suggest that this next opportunity they're going to present to you is going to be wonderful; it's going to be perfect, to be the job of your dreams. It is going to be a dream because it certainly isn't going to be a job of your dreams. It's going to be a job of their dreams because they're going to collect a fee for it and that's exactly what they dream of all the time.
But looking at this realistically, Matthews talks about the MEAL plan when looking at a dream job. "M.E.A.L. is an acronym. Who can you MEET in this job? So, in my particular case, there been times in life where, I worked in recruiting for many years, I met some phenomenal people who've been very instrumental in helping me launch as a coach. So, particularly, in the last couple of years as I started to make it very clear, I was going to go full time with the coaching, there are a lot of people who surfaced and wanted to help me and friends of theirs. So, the first letter of the acronym is "M" from meet.
What can you EARN? That's the E in MEAL. Think of it from the standpoint of doing a transition to a new career or a new role. You have to think in terms of, "are you going to have the earnings, will you have the reserves available to you, to make this transition because, for so many people, doing a transition to a new role to a new business, they need to have cash reserves because, as adults, we've got responsibilities.
There was someone I was talking to the other day . . . he wants to really do something else but "I've got responsibilities. I can't just do a leap and hope that it all works out. I've got kids would like to eat." So, as you think in terms of what can you earn in this job and how will that support you saving money so you can do this transition?
AVAILABLE is the"A" in M.E.A.L. What can you be available to do, try or experience? Matthews tells a great story about a woman who was in a workaholic job, took a position to take a step back to something more nine to five. She made less money, but what she was able to do is to find the time to start writing and, in doing that, 20 some odd books later through the discipline of writing, she would leave work at five have dinner with her husband sit down at a desk and do an hour and a half of work, four times a week, she was able to write 20 some odd books. That's really what she wants to do.
The L is LEARN. What can you learn from this experience? What is what can you take away from this job that you could apply to what you really want to be doing?
Sometimes people should take a job for less money to learn what it is like to work in the field that they hope to be in. I'm not going to make that judgment for you. But I want you to think in terms of the opportunities that can be available to the next job to learn things that can help you step up in class in the next role. That role can be in a new job, in the right job and it can also be in new business.
So, again, MEAL plan. Great concept and you know, when I coach people, I approach it a little bit differently. But I like this method. So,nice touch.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1300 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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