I celebrated a milestone this week. 25 years with the one organisation. This has crept up on me, indeed I checked my HR record thinking someone must have made a mistake.

I’ve been ambivalent about it. Much like the comments I’ve received my feelings have ranged from “that’s awesome!” through “Really? You don’t look old enough” down to “haven’t had a life”.

I decided to embrace the moment. After all if the University was going to throw a party and offer me a rather lovely gift, it seemed churlish not to attend to accept it. So I went, caught up with colleagues I haven’t seen in years, met interesting folk I’d never met, heard a little about other people’s proudest professional and personal achievements (everyone had a life!) drank champagne and had smiley photos taken.

Coincidently, on the same day I attended the AHRI HR in Focus Workshop on workforce planning facilitated by Julie Sloan. One point Julie made was that workforce planning needs managers to understand their staff members’ career stage. Whether each individual sees themselves as new, mid or end of career in their role, and in the organisation. A key point is that it is really important not to make assumptions about where others are at, based on their age or their managers’ limited understanding of their lives. This of course requires conversations that are deep, respectful and trusting.

So, 25 years. I’ll take it, gratefully, but don’t jump to conclusions about my next 25!