(NOTE: Based on today’s The Daily Post writing prompt)

As I grow older I become more aware of just what the word “finite” means. It’s not the opposite of infinite, that’s “zero.” No, “finite” means you’re limited. It means there’s a cap on a resource.

I’d like to say that when I was a younger man I thought the possibilities were infinite, but that’s not true. I always kind of thought my options were limited. Growing up as I did I thought I’d get a job behind a desk doing something that wasn’t all that important to anyone in particular but which paid well and provided both a paycheck and a pension for me and the family I would eventually have.

Mine is a generation that’s dealt with serious upheavals the job market. According to a 2016 report, 41% of Baby Boomers said they stayed with one company for 20 years or more and about two-thirds of those had a pension, something that was phased out as Boomers began retiring because they were expensive to offer and maintain. Now many people spend less than five years on average at one job and are likely to change jobs 10 to 15 times in their working years.

That means the job market is more competitive than it was for those in my parents’ generation. When people are always feeling the freedom to shift here and there, companies who are hiring have the luxury of looking around until they find just the right person because new people are always coming on the market.

As I said, I always kind of thought my possibilities were finite. That’s the result of being raised with stoic pragmatism as your guiding emotional principle. I just didn’t think this is how that would play out.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

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