80-year-old man climbs skyscrapers for a living

He has stuck with his ironworking career for decades
July 8, 2018 3:18 pm Last Updated: July 8, 2018 3:18 pm

John Rukavina is the definition of someone who loves his job, and no matter his age, he sticks with the ironworking career he’s had for decades.

The man is 80 years old, but only semi-retired—he still takes jobs that require him to climb some pretty high buildings in Chicago.

(One News Media)

For someone to do what he’s done for so long is impressive in itself; Rukavina has said that he’s seen countless people come and go on the job, but it seems he’s never even considered a different profession.

The man worked on the John Hancock Center back in 1969—it was the second tallest building in the world at the time of its construction.

(One News Page)

But his affiliation with the world’s tallest buildings wouldn’t stop there.

Years later, he helped with the installation of the antennae on the Sears Tower, which was the tallest building in the world for a whopping 25 years.

(Facebook / Willis Tower)

Rukavina has had his fair share of working hundreds of feet in the air. But it looks as if nothing scares him, and it’s always been that way.

“It’s safer to be on that antenna [Willis Tower] than it is to jaywalk on LaSalle Street at noon,” Rukavina told the Chicago Tribune.

Even in his 60s, he wasn’t afraid to scale up antennae—here he is on Trump Tower in 2009.

He used to love TinkerToys when young, which fueled his eventual passion for ironworking. He doesn’t think his age can affect his work ethic.

“To me, it’s just a number,” Rukavina said. “It don’t mean nothing.”

Back in 2012, he helped with a different installation of an antenna on top of the Sears Tower.

Not many people, if any, can say that they’ve worked on the same building decades apart.

The fact he was doing skyscraper work at an age where most people are retired shows the drive that Rukavina has. And based on his attitude, he has no intentions of slowing down.

“Life is boring,” Rukavina said. “You gotta have something to do.”

If working on the highest towers in the world is better than sitting at home relaxing, then so be it.

If anything, the man is an example of how your career can be your passion at any age. If you enjoy doing your job, then why fully retire?

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