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, March 24, 2008

Hitting The Fan

We had some drama last week at work. I decided to wait a few days before posting it, just so my emotions wouldn't get the better of me and I write something that is better left unsaid.

As you may know, I've been frustrated by the fact that while there is one other person on call with me, I make all the removals. This was the case two weeks ago. It was my Thursday off, but since we changed the way the on-calls are handled, technically I was on call starting at 5pm Thursday. The other guy who is on call with me was working visitation, which ended at 8pm. Well, about 11:45 we get a call. My boss said he's sending me because 1) it's about a 3 hour round-trip, and 2) the other guy had worked visitation. I half-jokingly told my boss, "I hope you remember this when I've worked a visitation and we get a call..." All of this is detailed in my previous post.

Anyhow, I made the call, leaving my house around midnight and climbing back into bed at 4am. The last time someone was out all night like this, they got the day off. So when the owner came in, I mentioned how I was up most of the night and got only three hours sleep. I was also scheduled to work visitation that night, as well. So, after lunch, the owner let me go home for about 3 hours to get some rest. I came in and worked visitation that night, getting home around 9:30pm. (It was supposed to end at 8, but what can you do?) So I go home, get a bite to eat, climb into bed and *ring* I have another call. My boss said he tried calling the other guy, but he wasn't answering his phone (that is a big violation of the rules, but as far as I know, no one has reprimanded him). Fortunately, it's a local call and I know I won't be out for more than an hour.

So I get dressed and go to the funeral home. I know we have some prior information written down about this person, so I'm looking through the files when the owner walks in. He had come back for his car, which he left at work while he and his wife went out for the evening. He asks me what's going on, and I tell him we've got another call. He then asks me how this works, with me and the other guy being on call together. I tell him that I do all the removals, and the other guy does all the embalming. The owner was not happy to here that I had been doing all the work. He starts to question me about all this, and I tell him I had spoken to my boss about the situation, but was told by my boss that was the way the owner wanted things.

Well, it turns out it is NOT the way he wants things, and the following Monday he proceeds to tear my boss a new one. I was in the next room and I heard everything, and it wasn't fun to listen to. I hate conflict, I hate seeing people get chewed out, and I especially hated it because I just knew that my boss was thinking that I deliberately got him in trouble. I found out later my suspicions were correct.

The fact of the matter is I did not say anything to the owner about the working conditions. Anytime I have a problem with my boss, I go to him about it. I have never gone over his head about anything.

So, for a few days, I was kind of on edge, wondering what my boss was thinking, and would this affect our working relationship. He was rather quiet around me for a few days, and I decided I was just going to keep my mouth shut and try not to do anything to aggravate the situation. He did start talking to me after a couple of days, and I don't think he's holding a grudge, but in the back of my mind I'm going to be wondering how I stand in his sight.

The end result of all of this is that the other guy and I will take turns making removals, and my boss and his on-call guy will take turns.


Blogger Sank said...

Workplace politics, probably responsible for more heart attacks than smoking and being overweight combined.

You played it correctly, you don't want to go over your bosses head expect in cases of wrong doing, ethical or legal issues. Then you do want to inform who you need to, to protect yourself.

Someway, somehow.. all these guys eventually get found out. Now that the cats out of the bag so to speak You might start thinking about approaching the owner about whats next from a career development standpoint. You are, or are about to be licensed, I assume that makes you portable and a thus more valuable, you have tons of management experience from your retail days... might start thinking about what's next and how you'll move ahead.

8:50 AM  
Blogger Granimore said...

Despite the drama, I really do enjoy my workplace. I am licensed, and I did receive a raise as a result. The owner has been very good to me, and I really do get along withe everybody.

The bottom line on this incident is that my boss has been "kicking back" a little bit, leaving all of us to follow in his wake and make sure things get done. He more or less got called out on this point, in pretty much those exact words. "It's time for you to start pulling your load around here!" or some such expression.

I have no plans to go anywhere. I've got a great job, good schedule (well, better, now that I don't have to make all the calls) good perks. I can work around these issues. Besides, my boss and I had a talk a while back. He told me he's not the vindictive type, and I haven't seen anything yet to make me not believe that.

8:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You did the right thing, Don. Believe it or not, this sort of thing is typical with all funeral homes. First calls can get ugly. Luckily, we have a guy who works for us who averages about 15-20 first calls a month, and loves to go on them. He'll do them all if he can - I think the guy's a vampire or something. He doesn't seem to need any sleep, and he always operates fine the next day. Plus, I'm sure he loves the thousand dollar paycheck (literally) added onto to his regular pay at the end of the month.

Morticians' hours are pretty pathetic, but what can we say? We love our jobs...sometimes :) I can live without decomps and cleaning poop, but I still think the positives outweigh the negatives in our profession. Talk to me in 10years and see if I still hold to that :P


6:49 PM  

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