I’ve always looked ahead in life and planned what I was going to do. The trouble is change overtakes you and you can’t afford to stand still…

For example, when I was seven I decided that after school I was going to get married and have children. No more school!

When I was 14, I decided I was going to go to university, work for a bit, get married and have children. No more school (especially physics and chemistry) or work!

When I was 21, having been to university and done my Personnel Management qualification, I decided I was going to have children one day, maybe, and then go back to work. Continuing my learning and education still didn’t really feature as a priority.

And then in my late twenties, like the frog in the bowl of gradually heating water, I realised that the world was changing around me and if I carried on as I was I would perish, at least professionally speaking.

More importantly, when I was diagnosed with cancer I realised that a life well lived included seizing opportunities, continuing to develop, and learning new skills.

These days, the pace and the degree of change affecting our working lives mean that continuing professional development for all professions, including HR, is not an option, it’s essential. Not only is it a matter of keeping up to date so we can be expert and trusted advisors, but it’s also about giving ourselves the opportunity to take on new roles, new challenges, even new careers so that we continue to lead full and satisfying lives, and can contribute fully to society.

To quote a very famous man “Learn as if you were to live forever.” And if you want to learn who said that, see below.

If you want to learn more about supporting people affected by cancer in the workplace the Macmillan at Work training programme can help. Apart from practical resources they provide face to face training sessions for HR professionals and line managers. Find out more at www.macmillan.org.uk/atwork 

Barbara Wilson is Founder of Working With Cancer. For more information click on www.workingwithcancer.co.uk

*It was Gandhi