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Retirement on the Line: Age, Work, and Value in an American Factory

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  7 ratings  ·  2 reviews

In an era when people live longer and want (or need) to work past the traditional retirement age, the Vita Needle Company of Needham, Massachusetts, provides inspiration and important lessons about the value of older workers. Vita Needle is a family-owned factory that was founded in 1932 and makes needles, stainless steel tubing and pipes, and custom fabricated parts. As p

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Paperback, 272 pages
Published April 17th 2012 by Ilr Press
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Caren
Mar 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
I can't get this book out of my mind. I had never heard of the Vita Needle Company, but I now see it as an alternate path to a meaningful old age in our culture. My bachelor uncle spent his last ten years in a nursing home, hungry for engagement and meaning in his life. My mother lived her last years in a "retirement community", a not unhappy place, but one in which her age cohort seemed to me to be segregated from our society at large. Isn't there a better alternative? The author, a cultural an ...more
University of Chicago Magazine
Caitrin Lynch, AM'92, PhD'00
Author

From our pages (Sept–Oct/12): "The median age of the employees at the family-owned Vita Needle Company of Needham, Massachusetts, is 74. As people live longer and want—or need—to work past the traditional retirement age, Vita Needle follows an unusual business model, seeking out older workers. In a five-year study of the company, Olin College anthropologist Caitrin Lynch examines societal assumptions about aging and employment alongside the implications of Vita
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