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101-Year-Old Fabric Cutter Defies Retirement Norms

Jayne Burns continues to work and finds joy in her job, defying expectations of retirement.

Jayne Burns, who will turn 101 on July 26, has no plans to retire and isn’t a member of the U.S. Congress —although the average age in the House of Representatives has been ticking lower over recent elections.

On the screen of the CNC cutter in the factory hall of the Nordwolle company, the cutting patterns for the millimeter-precise cutting for all jackets from a Nordwolle collection can be seen. Jayne Burns is 100 years old and doesn’t plan to retire as she works as a fabric cutter and enjoys her work. (JENS BUTTNER/GETTY IMAGES)

Instead of helping make laws, Burns found enjoyment working part-time as a fabric cutter at Joann Fabric and Crafts store in Mason, Ohio, where she’s been employed since her husband, Dick, died in 1997, according to CNBC “Make It.”

“I enjoy what I do, so I want to keep doing it,” she says. “I’ll work for as long as I can or as long as they’ll have me,” Burns told the outlet.

Throughout most of her career, Burns worked as a bookkeeper. Despite attempting retirement multiple times during her 70s and 80s, she would end up “unretiring” after just a few months due to her longing for the familiar routine and lunchtime chats with co-workers, according to the publication.

After Burns’ husband died, Donna, her daughter, who happened to work part-time at the sewing store, recommended her mother for the job as a helpful distraction from her grief.

“I enjoy talking to everybody I work with, and meeting the customers who are very nice,” she said, according to “Make It,” while acknowledging that some may be surprised to see her at the cutting table.

As for the secret to a longer and happier life, Burns shares her wisdom, saying there’s no magic formula, but “working has helped.”

Throughout her career, Burns has learned the best jobs have one trait in common: nice co-workers.

At Joann’s, she formed close friendships, like with Maggie HusVar, a college student who introduced her to TikTok. The pair have made TikTok videos together, some of which have gained millions of views. And, last summer, her co-workers threw a surprise 100th birthday party.

Burns believes staying busy eases focusing on aches and pains, making it easier to keep going, according to “Make It.”

Produced in association with Benzinga

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