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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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Words Of Advice

April 26 will mark my one year anniversary in my new profession. Looking back over the past year I can see how far I've come, and how far I've yet to go.
With this in mind, I'm posting a few words of advice for Funeral Service Students and Teachers.

For Students:
Please don't think that graduating school means you automatically know everything required to immediately jump in and do all the work of a funeral director and embalmer. I thought I was the best prepared of anybody, but once I actually got in the prep room I realized just how much more I needed to work and learn. This job is like learning to bowl from reading a book: you can get the terminology down, you can understand what you have to do, what your desired results are, but until you actually pick up a ball and roll your first frame, it's quite different than what you might expect.

When you do start working in a funeral home, everyone there can help you and teach you. Not only have I learned a lot from the owner and my boss, but also our courier. He's the one who taught me how to make removals. Even our secretary has taught me a lot of things, especially about all of the paperwork involved: Death certificates, Burial and Transit Permits, Cremation Authorizations, writing obituaries, etc. She has told me that in the past she has dealt with interns and graduates who looked down on her because she was a mere secretary, not a real funeral director, therefore she had nothing of value she could teach them. She then pointed out to me that all of those people no longer worked at our funeral home. No surprise, there. Listen and learn from anybody who is willing to help. They've been there longer than you, and they know how things work.

For Teachers:
Give your students as much hands-on as possible. Put them in situations where they actually have to perform, instead of recite facts from the textbook. Not that there's anything wrong with being well-prepared, as the National Board can be quite a challenge, but nothing beats "learning by doing." One thing I wish we had done at school was to sit down and role-play at making arrangements, complete with price lists, coordinating with churches, clergy, and cemeteries, even how to approach the subject of payment. And don't just make it a smooth, easy arrangement. Introduce schedule conflicts, such as two families wanting to use your chapel the same day and same time, or other such issues. One example from this Easter; the Catholic churches in our town were not allowing Mass the Thursday and Friday prior to Easter Sunday. These are very real things your students will have to deal with one day. I know every funeral home does things differently, but anything you can have them do will be to their benefit.


Blogger Janey Loree said...

Good Morning! I just sent an email to you containing the interview questions for an article in the BLOG VILLAGE NEWS. Please let me know if you do not receive them so that I can try again.

I will be back to visit your blog in the near future. Happy Anniversary!

7:43 AM  
Blogger Sank said...

Hey, I see you went after the BlogVillage. Good! Since your is far more interesting than my ramblings I'm sure you'll move up quickly. I'll keep the voting up for you..
Congrats on a year of blogging as well. You're writing is great.. It's been fun to watch you develop in the new role, track you wins and challenges and hopefully, once in a while I've been able to give you a little pick me up when you were frustrated.

Best of luck..

BTW, what's the future for you? DO you stay at this home? Are you still interning or in the learning mode.. Do you move somewhere else?

10:15 AM  
Blogger Granimore said...

Janey Loree-I did not receive the email. Dirty Butter says my Excite account doesn't let her email through. Please try one more time; if I don't get it I'll give you another address.

Sank-thanks for the votes and the support. I have no plans to leave this area. I'm in a good funeral home with good bosses. They seem to like me and have indicated they would like me to stay. My internship expires at the end of September, at which time I will take the State Board exams. If I pass, I will be a fully licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer.

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know a Funeral Education school in South Carolina that's going to do some of the role playing that you are talking about. They just had a complete selection room put in and will start using it as a hands on room this summer.

David M.

9:40 PM  
Blogger Granimore said...

David M., I'm glad to hear about that school. Make sure they introduce a little conflict here and there, like a wife and ex-wife, or an unwed teenage mother and her boyfriend trying to make arrangements for their stillborn. Believe me, I've seen more dysfunctional families this past year than I ever thought I would.

9:55 PM  

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