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Feeling Like a Pigeon?

Digging out of a pigeon hole can be tough

➔ It’s not unusual for employers – past and prospective – to pigeonhole employees. If you’re not familiar with the concept, the dictionary says that pigeonhole is “a neat category which usually fails to reflect actual complexities.”

So an employer may look at a candidate and say, “This is all he’s ever done. He can’t do anything else but.” Or, “She’s never worked in this industry before, she’ll never be able to adapt.”

If that strikes you as confining and restrictive, you’re right. It is. Our challenge is to escape that trap.

Unfortunately, there are occasions when we paint ourselves into that corner. If you’ve always worked for a large organization, you may think that you could never work for a small company. If you’ve always worked in the private sector, you may feel that you never could survive in the non-profit environment. There are others. We could go on, but you get the idea.

Some 50+ job seekers feel that they may never be able to make an impact again. Nothing could be further from the truth; and moving from one work environment to another may be just what the doctor ordered.

That close-to-the-customer approach that you perfected at a small company may be a welcome breath of fresh air at a larger organization that has lost its perspective. The frugal atmosphere of a non-profit could be just what’s needed at a large company where cost control is nothing more than a theory.

Sometimes we pigeonhole ourselves – and it’s usually to our own detriment. When you open your eyes, your ears and – most important – your mind, you’re certain to gain a radically different outlook on the world, on your work, on your job search.


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