Lessons From a Plumbing Employee With 50-Year Perfect Attendance

Ron Kline
Ron Kline Ron Kline

Ron Kline is a plumbing employee in Ohio. A particularly loyal plumbing employee in Ohio: He started working at Mansfield Plumbing on January 30, 1965, and claims he hasn't missed a single work day in 50 years. After an 18-year run inspecting sanitary-ware products for Mansfield, Kline—a father of 11 and grandfather of 38—now works as a deliveryman for the company and has no plans to retire. (He's 70.)

Since we work in media, where our peers switch jobs every six weeks and everything is terrifyingly transient, we decided to ask Kline for some career advice. Here's what he told us.

1. Have a positive attitude. "Too many kids have a negative attitude. You have to have an attitude where you are looking on the bright side. You want to treat people like you want to be treated. You need to have a good outlook. Too many people have a negative attitude. And it shows in the way they work."

2. You have to be willing to work. "So many kids nowadays, I don't think they're willing to work hard and make a living. They need to work hard and commit themselves to do a good job. And have, like I said, a positive attitude and want to work and be active. It keeps you young. You feel good when you go home like you've done your job and everything."

3. Always be friendly. "Always be friendly and try to work with people. Do the best you can. I walk down the street and people come up to me and just say hi, and my wife's with me and she says, 'Do you know these people?' I say no. I always try to be happy and be nice to people. There's too much bad things going on in the world today."

4. Play sports... "I coach boys' basketball and girls' basketball and girls' softball. I enjoy teaching the kids and working with kids. I think that's a wonderful thing; you can teach these younger kids to have a good time. Playing sports helps a lot of times their desire to make themselves better. And carries on into the workplace. I think a lot of times sports do help kids in their life later on. Because they have to really work hard to play sports if they want to make themselves better. I always thought that was a good thing. You learn a lot with sports."

5. ...but not video games. "The younger people nowadays, they're more interested in video games and doing things like that. I don't do that. I'm sure they enjoy doing that. You have to want to work and make a living and do the best you can. I think you'll feel better and everything'll work out much better for you."