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Meet the centenarian who holds the world record for the longest career at one company

Walter Orthmann has worked for the same company in Brazil for 84 years and counting. He turned 100 earlier this month.
Guinness World Records
Walter Orthmann has worked for the same company in Brazil for 84 years and counting. He turned 100 earlier this month.

Updated April 29, 2022 at 2:32 PM ET

Walter Orthmann started working at a textile company in Brazil as a teenager. Now, after turning 100 this month, he has shattered the world record for the longest career at the same company.

For 84 years and nine days, as verified in January, Orthmann has been working at what is now known as ReneauxView, according to Guinness World Records. In those eight decades, he has collected pay in nine currencies.

Orthmann was born in Brazil's Santa Catarina state — an area that had a large German population — on April 19, 1922, according to Guinness. As a teenager, his family hit hard times financially, and he applied to work at a weaving mill. Thanks to his proficiency in German, the young Orthmann got a job there as a shipping assistant.

Soon after, he was promoted to a position in sales before becoming a sales manager.

"I was given the opportunity to work as a salesperson," he said in a news release. "I traveled to São Paulo and in less than one week I filled the production with orders equivalent of three month[s] of work."

In the 1950s, he started traveling across the country, establishing relationships with clients who became his friends.

To Orthmann, having a job means a sense of "purpose, commitment and a routine," according to the news release.

"I don't do much planning, nor care much about tomorrow," Orthmann said. "All I care about is that tomorrow will be another day in which I will wake up, get up, exercise and go to work."

Orthmann celebrated his centenary with co-workers this month and says the office is his favorite place. This world record, he says, is his proudest achievement.

"You need to get busy with the present, not the past or the future," he says. "Here and now is what counts. So, let's go to work!"

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Rina Torchinsky
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