Walter Orthmann started working for a textile company at the age of 14, in January 1938, and has been at the same company since.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on May 6, 2022. It has since been updated.
A Brazilian man has created a world record by working at the same company for more than 84 years. According to Guinness World Records, Walter Orthmann, 100, has worked for the textile company Industrias Renaux S.A for more than eight decades. Orthmann started work in January 1938 when he was just 15, as his family was struggling to make ends meet. It was also a time when most kids worked. "Back in 1938, kids were expected to work to help support the family," said Orthmann. "As the oldest son of five, my mother took me to find a job at the age of 14." He started out as a shipping assistant before being promoted to sales. Not long after, he became a manager in the department. "Walter believes that the best part about having a job is that it gives you a sense of purpose, commitment and a routine," Guinness World Records said of Orthmann. He is now officially the Guinness World Records title holder for the longest career in the same company.
At a time when companies are struggling to retain employees on account of offering poor wages and being a toxic workplace, Orthmann's story stands out. The 100-year-old said one of the key factors that made him continue in the same job all his life was the opportunity to travel and meet new people, reported PEOPLE. "Throughout his 84 years of work, he has seen many things change in the company, in the country, and in the world," read a statement by Guinness. "As a result, he has come to understand that one of the most important parts of the business is to always be up-to-date and to adapt to different contexts."
On April 19, 2022, Orthmann celebrated his 100th birthday, along with friends and loved ones, at the company. "When we do what we like, we don't see the time go by," said Orthmann. "I don't do much planning, nor care much about tomorrow. All I care about is that tomorrow will be another day in which I will wake up, get up, exercise, and go to work; you need to get busy with the present, not the past or the future. Here and now is what counts. So, let's go to work!" Orthmann also adds that his curiosity to learn new things kept him moving forward all the time. For Orthmann, it was never about the record. It was always about staying happy and working in an environment that kept him going. "Looking back, despite never having contemplated breaking a record, I think my proudest achievement was being certified as the titleholder for the longest career in the same company." Industrias Renaux S.A, where he works, is now ReneauxView. He was in Brusque, a small town in Santa Catarina, Brazil, which has a large German population.
As a kid, he would walk barefoot to school and he did really well in school. But when his family experienced financial problems, he sought out his first job. He went to the weaving mill with his mom to apply for a job and because of his strong proficiency in German, he was hired. "I was given the opportunity to work as a salesperson. I traveled to São Paulo and in less than one week, I filled the production with orders equivalent to three months of work," he recalled. As he moved up the ladder, his responsibilities grew. By the '50s, he was constantly traveling and meeting new people and clients. He enjoyed that lifestyle. He was always on the move and established a strong network of clients, many of whom would eventually become his dear friends. One of his standout qualities was the ability to adapt and that's what helped him in his 84 years at the company. He likes to be up to date on processes and practices and adapts as and when required.
He might be 100 years old, but he is in good health, partly down to enjoying a routine and exercising on a daily basis. He still drives to his workplace and has excellent mental clarity and memory. When asked what professional advice he has for someone starting out, he said it's important to work for a good company that constantly motivates you. He lives a pretty relaxed life and doesn't like looking too far ahead. "I don’t do much planning, nor care much about tomorrow. All I care about is that tomorrow will be another day in which I will wake up, get up, exercise and go to work; you need to get busy with the present, not the past or the future. Here and now is what counts. So, let’s go to work!" he said.