How to work out if it’s time to leave your job

I’m excited to share a MEAL with you.

Sadly not the food kind, but a nourishing one none the less.

It’s a great tool for those times when you don’t know if you should stay or move on from your role or organisation.

Meaning – Does the work you do have a higher purpose?

Enjoyment  – Is your job fun more often than not? Do you get those moments of being in flow?

Achievement – Do you feel a sense of pride in what you do?

Learning  – Are there opportunities to develop and grow, either formal or on the job?

Seeing where you rate yourself can open up some useful thinking and conversations on where next.


How to use MEAL

Draw the diamond and divide it in 2.

Starting at where the lines intersect in the middle, on a scale of 1-10 rate how much of each you get from your job. Connect the dots (pun intended), and shade in the shape.

This is how I imagine mine would’ve looked when I worked at Penguin Group, I was in my dream company but the learning was lacking.

Now rate each dimension on how much you have in your life overall.

What are you noticing?

I didn’t know MEAL back in my Penguin days. I remember feeling like I wasn’t using my brain and I missed that. So I started an MSc in Organisational Behaviour to compensate.

And it worked, for a while. I came to see that my heart was in Learning & Development and with no opportunities where I was it was clear it was time to move on.

The simplicity of the MEAL model helps you to quickly zoom in on the areas you’re not feeling fulfilled. Then you can explore those areas more by thinking about:

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  • A time when you were feeling fulfilled in that area, what was it like?, what was happening?
  • How important is it for you to get each area fulfilled by your job?
  • What opportunities might be outside work?
  • What opportunities might be inside work?
  • Who could you talk to about this?

No matter what you decide to do, the MEAL model will be able to help you frame your conversations in a positive way.


Next week I’m going to share how you can use MEAL to check in with the people who work for you.

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