by | May 9, 2022 | Bookkeeping, General

When we do what we like, we don’t see the time go by.

Walter Orthmann

We are in the midst of what people are calling the Great Resignation, with millions of people leaving their work each month (4.5 million last month, alone). There are countless stories and articles articulating all of the reasons people are leaving, how to motivate them to stay, how to attract new employees, etc.

We are told constantly to think long-term, follow our passions, and embrace change above all else.

Walter Orthmann, age 100, decided to ignore those suggestions. As a matter of fact, he has ignored them for the past 84 YEARS! At 14 years old, in the middle of the Great Depression, Walter was told by his mother that it was time for him to find a job and help support the family. He found one working as a shipping assistant for a company called Industrias Renaux S.A. He was happy to have the position. He was so happy to have it he never left.

Last week, the Guinness Book of World Records announced that Walter Orthmann, age 100, who has been working without interruption for the same company for just over 84 years, has set a new record for the longest tenure at a single business. Throughout his career he has seen many promotions, and been able to travel farther than he ever imagined.

What makes someone stay with a single company for 84 years? Or even 20? 30? 40?

According to Walter, it was three very simple things:

  • First, he found and embraced the routine. Rather than constantly thinking long-term and looking for the next advancement, he focused on enjoying each moment and being happy in his work. (“I don’t do much planning, nor care much about tomorrow,” he told Guinness. “All I care about is that tomorrow will be another day.”)
  • Second, he found purpose in his job. All of us have had or will have jobs that are not our passion. Sometimes instead of searching for your passion in hopes of finding a job, you need to find your passion in your job. The lucky amongst us will be able to meld the two and find true joy and purpose in our work.
  • Finally, he embraced the commitment. He focused on the positives that that his job offered. He fell in love with being constantly on the move and establishing good relationships with clients who became friends. (“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!”)

So, as you look to fill key roles in your company, or you yourself are looking for a new position. Instead of focusing solely on things like salary, PTO, etc. you might want to ask yourself if the job can truly offer those three key attributes: purpose, commitment, and routine.

As a business owner, planning for the future and thinking long-term is something I am constantly doing. However, if I do not keep myself in the present moment to enjoy the people I am blessed to be surrounded by, and the purpose my work provides then the long-term may never arrive. Be here now. Find joy in your work. I am pretty sure I won’t be here in 84 years, but I have no plans on leaving anytime soon.

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