Typecasting is a word that one normally hears within the acting profession.
An actor or actress becomes so identified with a specific kind of role or performance that audiences (as well as film-makers) find it difficult to imagine them in anything other.
Most actors and actresses work very hard to expand their range and avoid this trap. Those who are successful show a history of pursuing varied roles in different mediums, always flexing their acting muscles and working their craft.
A similar phenomenon happens in the corporate world.
You do so well in a particular job or role—let’s say user support—that no one’s willing to give you anything but responsibilities within that space.
You get pigeonholed.
Before long, the opportunities to expand your skill-set dry up. Although you enjoy a good reputation in your field, you feel stuck in the user support landscape.
Beware of getting pigeonholed at work.
A common adage says that strategy is as much about what you reject, as it is what you accept.
Perhaps the most challenging aspect of working on your strengths is the willingness and confidence to say “no” to certain projects or opportunities.
Having worked in the corporate world for a long time, I understand that it may be challenging to be selective when you’re working for a company. How do you say “no” to your boss? What about being a good soldier and team member?
Of course, you’ll have to honor the realities of your job responsibilities, while being on the lookout for the kinds of assignments that may be outside of its purview.
There are situations that require all hands on deck, and you have to do your best as part of the team. I’m not advocating that you forsake all that and purely work on your own interests, all the time.
This is about looking at the broader picture and seeing the general pattern.
Recognize the signs if you’re headed to being pigeonholed.
Truly assess whether your current position gives you sufficient opportunities to expand your knowledge and skills. Does it allow you to work on sharpening your strengths?
Not all opportunities will be beneficial to you. It helps if you can get comfortable walking away from those that do not work to your strength’s advantage.
Adapted from: Build What You Want: 6 Keys To Your Best Career