For them, age really is only a number
Work never gets old.
In July, just a month shy of his 92nd birthday, an American Airlines worker was presented with a Guinness World Record for the longest career as an airline mechanic.
The mechanic, Azriel Blackman, was working for the company when it was called American Export Airlines, and was completing its first trans-Atlantic flights. While Blackman can’t do much manual work anymore, according to the New York Times, his memories and strong guidance are still invaluable to the company.
Among elderly workers, Blackman is hardly a minority: Research shows that workers over 65 are consistently more reliable and more productive than their younger counterparts. These workers are awesome, and we hope they stick around for many years to come.
Here are five of the oldest workers in the world, who are still going strong:
David Goodall, 103, Scientist
Dr. Goodall is an ecologist at Edith Cowan University in Perth, and is Australia’s oldest scientist. He took his first job as a botany reader in 1948, and has been in the field ever since. Last August, the university tried to force him to work from home, citing risks to his health. Goodall, who has three doctorates, refused to relocate his work. He told the Independent, “People are staying healthier for longer, and if a person wants to work and is able to work and contribute then I think each case should be judged on its merits.”
Alla Ilyinichna Levushkina, 89, Surgeon
Dr. Levushkina has performed over 10,000 surgeries in her 67-year career, according to The Sun. And she’s not slowing down: she still performs surgery four days a week in Ryazan, Russia, and was recently recognized as one of the best doctors in Russia. “I have nothing to do in retirement,” Levushkina told The Sun. “Doctor–it’s not just a profession, it’s a way of life. Why else would the surgeon live, if not to work?”
Jack B. Weinstein, 95, Judge
This guy’s been banging the gavel since 1967, and he’s not putting it down anytime soon. At 50 years and 86 days on the job, Weinstein is the fifth-longest serving federal judge (by total service) in United States history. Weinstein was named a federal judge by Lyndon B. Johnson, and has heard about 25,000 cases in his career. He was an officer in the Navy during World War II, and had to attend college at night while working odd jobs for money during the Great Depression. He was referred to by CNN as an “activist judge” and is known for fighting minimum prison sentences for drug crimes and, more recently, combatting child pornography. Weinstein told CNN he’ll be staying on his bench for the near future, citing the “excitement of the law.”
Jiro Ono, 91, Chef
Jiro Ono isn’t just any chef–he is the world’s oldest Michelin three-star chef, and has Guinness Record to prove it. He became a sushi chef in 1951, and opened his Tokyo restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro, in 1965.
And good luck getting a seat–as one of the most famous and expensive sushi restaurants in the world, Sukiyabashi Jiro is fully booked for the next three months. Why has Ono worked for so long? Quite simply, he loves it. “I’ve never once hated this job,” he said in Jiro Dreams of Sushi, a documentary about his life. “I fell in love with my work and I gave my life to it…I don’t feel like retiring.”
Tao Porchon-Lynch, 98, Yoga Instructor
This yoga master has truly seen it all. Often called the “real-life Forrest Gump” Porchon-Lynch spent the 1940s and 50s acting in England, France, and the U.S., and was friends with Marilyn Monroe. She also marched with Gandhi, and worked with Unitel to bring television to India in the 1950s. While growing up in India she often saw men doing yoga but, as a woman, was not allowed to do it herself. But she started taking classes anyway, in 1926, when she was eight years old.
Now, at “98 years young” according to her website, Porchon-Lynch is the world’s oldest yoga instructor. She teaches classes four days a week in Westchester, N.Y., and leads frequent retreats to India. She’s also working with the U.N. to promote yoga around the world. “If you do yoga, everyone wins because it’s right inside of you,” she told the Observer. “I think if we can bring that out, we can do some good in the world.”
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