And So Begins My New Life

Join me as I embark on a new life and new career in Funeral Services.

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Location: Southeast, United States

I'm a Funeral Services graduate embarking on a new career. I graduated high school in 1981, served honorably in the United States Navy from 1982-1986, been married since 1986, and have one son. I've relocated to a new state and have begun working in my chosen profession of Funeral Services, and I've never been happier.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

I was talking to the owner today about a call that I took this weekend. A funeral home up north wanted us to receive a casketed body and take it to the cemetery for burial. No viewing, no visitation, just direct burial. This type of service is what we call a "drop in." I took the call and they started asking how much do we charge, and how much does the cemetery charge for opening and closing the grave? I told him I would check on our prices, and then I gave him the number for the cemetery. While I called the owner to get the price, they called the cemetery. The owner tells me I should have called the cemetery, because now they will call the cemetery, which also operates a funeral home, and the cemetery will get all the business. Plus, we had the opportunity to try to sell a vault ourselves instead of letting the cemetery sell the vault. And, of course, we ended up losing the call.

These types of transactions and situations are a perfect example of things I have never been trained to handle. A part of me wants to complain that it's hard to learn these things when you're busy spreading mulch and painting the funeral home, but I understand these types of things need to be done. Still, it's very frustrating to be mildly chastised for mishandling this phone call. Not only that, but the owner told me that I will be sitting with the next family that has arrangements for immediate cremation. I knew that, and I understand it's coming, but he tells me that if I don't know the answer to a question the family asks, just tell them I don't know and I'll find out for them. This is in direct conflict with what my boss told me, which was to never tell them "I don't know" and that I'll "check into it for them."

The owner acknowledged he has not been diligent about training me. In his words, he's been trying to "semi-retire." I asked him, before he semi-retires, would he at least semi-train me? He chuckled at that, so hopefully I've made my point and can get some training, assuming our ongoing painting of the exterior of the funeral home permits.


Anonymous coral said...

I know your frustrations, the same thing is happening here after nearly four years, as aresult of bad training. yuck! You have my sympathies.

2:16 AM  
Blogger Granimore said...

Thanks. I'm very frustrated over this painting. I know it needs to be done, and I have no problem doing it, but it seems like every time there might be an opportunity to sit down and learn a few things, the owner comes up with these lengthy projects. The last long-term project was pulling all the old mulch out of the landscaping and laying fresh mulch. That took about three days, then we had to turn around and do the same thing at the owners house, which was another two days. Just once I would like to take three or four days and have some intensive training on how to sit with a family, how to write up a contract, how to sell pre-need, and other important aspects. Thanks for letting me vent.

5:26 PM  
Blogger SonarMan said...

I share your pain. I try to politely point out my boss's contradictions as best I can when they occur.

Good luck on your new career. Forgive me, but I am a little "shell-shocked" by the whole funeral home thing. I've had 14 members of my immediate family die in the last 6 years, including my father, both my birthfather's parents, my wife's grandmother, and my wife's mother. Not to mention friends. I've seen the inside of more funeral homes than I ever cared for.

Thanks for your post on my blog. And again, good luck on your career. Obviously, you have a heart to do something like this, so that speaks volumes of the kind of person you are.

9:05 PM  
Blogger Granimore said...

Thanks, Chief. Sorry for all of your losses. That is quite a tragic list. God Bless you and your service to our nation.

1:44 PM  

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