By Isaiah O’Connor
a 5 minute read
Today I am going to be asking what I believe to be an important question when looking at your career or at starting a business.
Are you typecasting yourself?
What do I mean by that? First of all, let us look at what typecasting is. Typecasting is something that is usually used to describe actors who are known for playing a certain type of character, and then subsequently only cast as that type. Take for example Bela Lugosi, he had played Dracula and due to his naturally strong Hungarian accent and his stage presence caused him to be only cast in horror films. He was not happy with this state of affairs and said;
“I’d like to quit the supernatural roles and play just an interesting, down-to-earth person.”— Bela Lugosi
Obviously typecasting was a detriment to his career.
Now at the same time, there was another actor who was typecast as a Hollywood monster that being Boris Karloff who played Frankenstein’s Monster. He liked it because he out found out that it was his niche and even said;
“Certainly, I was typed. But what is typing? It is a trademark, a means by which the public recognizes you. Actors work all their lives to achieve that. I got mine with just one picture. It was a blessing.”— Boris Karloff
Now when I started researching this blog I had only thought of typecasting as being a negative thing, however, it can be both a blessing and a curse. It seems to depend on if it is something that you can become passionate about or not. If it is not something you can become passionate about, then, it can become a curse as you will feel stuck in that role.
On the other hand if you can find yourself becoming passionate about it, it can become the niche you serve and allowing you to stand out from the crowd. Your attitude and passion are the deciding factors.
Now let us take this back into the realm of business and careers. When you are looking at your next career move, be it jumping into entrepreneurship or moving to a new job it is very easy to typecast yourself. That is to say, you assume that the only thing you are good at and have to offer is what you have done before, or have a talent in.. It has been my experience that this is almost never the case.
Let me give you a personal example. The first job that I held for long term was working as an arcade attendant, and later arcade lead attendant at a family fun center. When I moved to another city, the only jobs I initially looked at were, you guessed it, arcade attendant jobs. I had typecast myself. I thought that this experience was only good for one thing, working at other fun centers. This is not the biggest industry in the U.S. so decent jobs in the field were few and far between, and most of the positions were entry-level and minimum wage.
I had failed to see what skills I had developed in my time there. I had developed customer service, sales, and leadership skills among others. All of these easily translated to other job positions, but I had failed to see this. This lead me to just looking for no experience needed entry-level positions and starting over from scratch. I have repeated this over and over in my long work history. Of course, it is to be expected as many if not most jobs ask for your relevant job experience.