You may have heard the lofty tales of loyalty but this one triumphs them all. A 100-year-old man from Brazil has entered the Guinness World Record for being an employee of one company for 84 long years. Yes, you read that right! Walter Orthmann has been working in a textile company for 84 years.
Born on April 19, 1922, in Brusque, a small town in Santa Catarina, Brazil which has a large German population, Walter Orthmann started work as a shipping assistant when he was fifteen years old at a textile company in Santa Catarina called Industrias Renaux S.A. (now known as ReneauxView). He joined the company on 17 January 1938.
“Back in 1938, kids were expected to work to help support the family,” Orthmann was quoted as saying by Guinness. “As the oldest son of five, my mother took me to find a job at the age of 14.”
Rain or shine, mud or frost, propelled by his tenacity, Walter would walk barefoot to school to study and then practice at home. He was an exceptional student with a brilliant memory and attention to detail.
However, due to financial problems at home, he began to work to help his family. 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. He has worked at the same company, ReneauxView, ever since.
After getting his first position as a shipping assistant, Walter showed outstanding skills and willingness to learn, always doing more than expected.
Shortly after, he was promoted to a position in sales. Then, he became a successful Sales Manager.
“I was given the opportunity to work as a salesperson. I travelled to São Paulo and in less than one week I filled the production with orders equivalent to three months of work.”
Walter believes that the best part about having a job is that it gives you a sense of purpose, commitment and a routine.
In the fifties, he started travelling across the country and had the opportunity to meet people from different places and cultures. He fell in love with being constantly on the move and establishing good relationships with clients who became friends.
Throughout his 84 years of work, he has seen many things change in the company, in the country and in the world. 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 19 April 2022, Walter Orthmann turned 100 years old. He celebrated his centenary in the company of his coworkers, friends and family with an unforgettable party.
His charisma, empathy and humanity make him a strong and meaningful leader.
He is in good health, with excellent mental clarity and memory. He enjoys a calm life and exercises every day. As a result, he has been able to maintain enough vitality and energy to drive to his favourite place every day: the office.
He comments that the best professional advice he can give is to try to work for a good company and in an area where you feel motivated.
Walter has achieved a record-breaking career with many memorable moments by believing in the power of the present.
“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!”
For Walter, breaking a Guinness World Records title is an honour and a privilege. He would never have imagined that he would achieve one.
“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.”
Walter broke his own record set in 2019 with 81 years and 85 days.