Pigeon Holed technically means (n) – one of a series of small, open compartments, as in a desk,cabinet, or the like, used for filing or sorting papers, letters,etc. www.dictionary.com
I think over the years, the more common use has been the metaphoric meaning (v) sense of narrowly categorizing or deferring. www.wikipedia.com People refer to themselves as being “pigeon holed” when they are forced to do the same job over and over while not getting an opportunity to grow and expand their skills.
It is my opinion that the term pigeon holed has a negative connotation. In a sense, you are being forced to do something that you don’t particularly want to do but seem to end up with the job “because you are so good at it”. If you want to take the positive perspective, consider that you are an expert in this area and people come to you because they respect the job you do.
If you are feeling resentment in repeating a task, project or job you are probably feeling pigeon holed. Likewise, if you are missing out on opportunities because you are assigned do the same jobs you’ve done in the past. If other people never volunteer to do things because the job is undesirable and “you should do it, because you’ve done it before and you’re so good at it” – – you’re probably being pigeon holed.
Unless you don’t mind it, I’d fight hard to not get pigeon holed into things. Personally, I tend to get bored quickly by repeating things over and over. I am always looking for new opportunities and new ways to expand my skills.
The best way to not get pigeon holed is to say no when offered to repeat jobs. Also, look for ways to expand your skills and ask to use those new skills instead. Finally, offer to train someone else to take over the particular task so you can move onto other duties.
This isn’t just limited to professional settings. You can get pigeon holed into volunteering for the same jobs, running the same committees, even doing the same household chores – – all because “you’re good at it”.
Have you ever felt pigeon holed? Did you mind it? Or did you resent it? How did you get out of the situation?