For many, retirement is the endgame of one’s career. After 30 or 35 years, we are ready to kick back, relax, and enjoy the pleasures of life. But not everyone is eager to punch the timecard one last time. At General Motors, that man was Elmer Zurakowski, who worked at the Warren Tech Center. After 67 years at General Motors, earning the title of the highest seniority hourly employee in the company, he’s finally retiring, according to WXYZ.
Zurakowski started at General Motors when he was 18 in 1951, working in Plant 23 in Detroit, he said in his interview with WXYZ. While he wanted to work with wood, the automaker suggested he work with metal instead. He was disappointed but dove headlong in the position ready to learn. He became a die-maker apprentice. When he started, he saw workings building tanks for the Korean War.
While he’s excited to spend time with his family and focus on woodworking, he’s sad he won’t see his co-workers every day. However, he is grateful his career at General Motors was able to provide his family—a wife, three daughters, and a son. He found pleasure in his career because he chose to find purpose in his day-to-day activities. He said if you can’t find pleasure in your work, then you’ll never know what pleasure is. He added that if you think your work isn’t fun, then start thinking differently. Zurakowski is also a member of Mensa.
Before his retirement, he stopped by his local UAW hall. There, his fellow union members presented him with a plaque celebrating his 67-year-long career.
Often, a career becomes more than just about the work. There are camaraderie and friendship, and when it’s time to leave a job for retirement or something else, the hardest part isn’t leaving the work behind, it’s leaving the people you’ve enjoyed working with that’s the most difficult.
We wish Elmer a happy, fulfilling, and long retirement.