Vipul Prakash had never thought about what a casual meeting with his uncle would help him do. Ramesh Vij–Vipul’s uncle was soon getting retired from his job, and this was a cause of anxiety for him.
“When I met my uncle, he imagined all sorts of ailments post-retirement,” Vipul told The Better India. He added, “While I found it a bit surprising, when I looked around, I found lots of people who retired at the age of 58-60, still had the alertness and strength to go on until 75-80 years.”
Come to think of it, haven’t we all seen examples of grumpy grandparents sitting at home? My grandfather, for instance, was a very active, jolly man when he was working. But a few months into his retirement, he became quite moody, only instruct and criticise everything we did. Maybe the founders of HUM realised this anxiety and sense of uselessness among senior citizens and decided to do something about it.
HUM, the founders say, is India’s first online community-based job platform dedicated to finding and creating job opportunities for the seniors of the society.
HUM was started by Vipul along with his 77-year-old uncle Ramesh Vij, a retired technocrat, and Kritarth Malhotra, an electrical engineer. Together, they sought to connect senior citizens with employers who sought experienced people.
They launched HUM in July 2017 in Delhi and have now expanded to other major cities in India too. They targeted social media as their main resource and have reached out to about 5000 senior citizens through their Facebook and Whatsapp groups.
Speaking about the philosophy on which HUM operates, Ramesh told TBI, “Our hypothesis is that clients face challenges in staffing certain roles, have huge attrition on certain roles and have surge months where they need extra people–think audit firms at year end. We feel there is a potential to create a whole new category of services targeted towards these people.”
HUM has done surveys about expectations of employers and how well an average senior citizen meet those.
They found that a good number of senior citizens who want to work past the age of 60 years are tech-savvy, and that’s one thing that organisations expect from experienced interns or employees.
“The idea is to start with jobs, but the catch is to find jobs that will work for them, and then expand and build a community around this space,” Mr Vij continued. “We believe in the huge potential of the experienced, and we are extremely excited about what we can do with it.”
The emotional state of retired senior citizens is understandable. Even if many of us long for a vacation with absolutely nothing to do, we only think of it as a break. From being resourceful, skilled and appreciated, their lives become monotonous.
The dullness of post-retirement life may seem appealing for a few days, weeks even. But since they have been accustomed to mental and physical activity for so long, their bodies and minds long for exertion upon retirement.
They find that it is not easy to go from a busy schedule to retire to the comfort of their home, after all.
With 10-20 more years of activeness ahead of them, it seems rather silly to waste them. Kritarth recalls the case of Mr Gulia, who wanted to get back in the game after a year of retirement. He didn’t know who to approach until a WhatsApp forward introduced him to HUM.
“After 38 years of working as a banker, Mr Gulia who retired in 2016 never thought he’d work again,” Kritarth told TBI.
He continued, “When he wanted to go back to work, he wasn’t sure that the right opportunity would be available to him–one which would respect his experience while giving him the flexibility he wanted… But a week after joining the HUM community, he was up for his first interview for the role of a Master Consultant. This role would enable him to use the skills and experience he had gained so far, that too on his terms!”
HUM has received messages from retired senior citizens as well as from children who are looking for employment opportunities for their parents or relatives. Their objective is simple–to get jobs for senior citizens who want them! Rarely do we understand the knowledge bank that the experiences of senior citizens carry. Utilising this in the job sector would be beneficial to both–the employers and employees.
If you too are seeking re-employment opportunities for retirees, check out HUM’s Facebook page, or connect with them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)