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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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Reflections On My Day Off

Today is my day off, and I awoke to the sound of some badly needed rain pattering on my window. I love those kinds of mornings, when you are nice and cozy and can just roll over and go back to sleep. Unfortunately, I also awoke to a list of tasks to complete, mostly involving laundry and cleaning the kitchen. I got a load of towels started in the washer, then started tackling the kitchen. Halfway through that I broke for lunch, which I ate on my porch while watching the rain come down. As I ate, I began thinking about my work and some things that have happened the past couple of days.

Tuesday night was my last night on call for this week. The running joke at work is we are guaranteed a call every Tuesday, because that's the usual "curse" of those on call; they can never enjoy that last night on duty without having to go on a removal. This was no exception. I got to the hospital, and the deceased was at least 350 to 4oo pounds. Fortunately, there were a couple of nurses available to help me.

Wednesday we had a lot to do; two bodies to get ready. One of those was a ship out, and he had to be at the airport by 1pm. The other we had to have ready by 3pm so we could put him in our chapel and get him ready for visitation. When I returned from the airport, the owner and my boss were talking about this visitation, and my boss said something like, "Poor Errand Guy, he's got to work visitation tonight. I screwed him on that deal." (My boss was leaving town that night for a wedding out of state, or else he would have been working). Now Errand Guy is the employee who is constantly taking extra days off or leaving early, and he hasn't worked a visitation in about a year. So the owner says, "Well, we let him and Returning Employee get off too easy, anyway." I was thrilled to hear that, because it's true! Neither one of them works visitations, except on the extremely rare occasion such as last night. Usually me or my boss are working them, and it gets kind of frustrating. Let me give you an example; Let's say I'm on call and I show up for work at 8am. We've got a visitation, which usually runs from 2-4pm and again from 6-8pm. I end up working until at least 8pm, sometimes longer if the family lingers or if there's a very large crowd. So I've been at work for 12 hours, minus breaks and meals. I go home, sit down for a late dinner, and the phone rings. I've got a removal to make. So I go out and make it, and get home about 90 minutes later, or so. So now I've been on the go about 14 hours or more. Sometimes after visitation I'll call my boss and say, "they're done, I'm going home to eat. Can you give me a couple of hours to eat and freshen up in case we get any calls?" He'll tell me he can't control when people will die. I remind him Returning Employee, who is also on call as an embalmer, is available to cover for me, yet my boss seems reluctant to send him out. As a result, I end up working about 45 hours per week, plus all the time spent on removals after hours, including all those calls that come at 2 or 3 in the morning.

Bottom line is, I feel like I'm doing my fair share of work and then some. Hopefully, though, now that the owner knows others are getting off easy, things will change for the better. Don't get me wrong. I still absolutely love my job, and I really like everybody I work with. I'm just tired of having the weight piled on my shoulders when there's enough people to share the load.

Anyhow, as I said, my boss went out of state, which means I once again am covering the phones after-hours. Last night we got a call about 7:45. I called Errand Guy, who was still at visitation. I told him we had a call, but this was a big guy (the nurse told me 450 pounds). So even though I was technically off, me and Errand Guy made the removal together, immediately after the visitation ended. He said, "It's been a long time since I had one this big." I told him it was my second in two days.


Anonymous coral said...

He said, "It's been a long time since I had one this big."

I would have felt like saying "It's a long time since you had one at all!"

But wouldn't have!

3:45 AM  
Blogger Granimore said...

I did him a favor and worked his visitation tonight. Partly because it was only supposed to last until 7pm, partly because he got called out in the middle of the night Wednesday for a two hour removal, and partly because he'll be working all day Sunday. He told me he was hoping I would work Sunday night for him. Considering I'm already working Saturday when I'm supposed to be off, I told him no.

8:03 PM  

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