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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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Is My Boss Jealous Of Me?

I had an interesting conversation with the owner of the funeral home this morning. Before I get into that, though, let me update you on the business at work. It's been a really busy week, again, for us. We've had, I believe, five services this week. Two on Monday, and one each Thursday, Friday, and today.

Thursday was my day off, but due to the nature of our on-call rotation, after close of business Thursday I was the on-call guy, especially since the other guy who is on-call with me was working a visitation from 6-8pm. So about 11:45pm I get a call from my boss. I've got to drive 80 miles to make a pick-up. My boss told me he was having me do it because the other guy had worked all day and evening. I told him, "Well, I hope you remember those words the next time I work a visitation and we get a call..." Anyhow, I made the removal, getting a total of 3 hours of sleep; one hour before the call came, and two hours after I got home at 4am.

Friday, the owner comes into work and I'm filling him in on the call I had, and the fact that I got only three hours of sleep. Mercifully, he let me have about 3 hours off in the afternoon to catch up on some rest before I worked the visitation Friday night. After visitation, which the family dragged out until 9pm, I went home and had a bite to eat, then immediately climbed into bed for some much needed rest. Right away the phone rings, and we've got another call. The first thing my boss told me was he had tried to call the other guy, but he wasn't answering his phone. {That's another issue, but one I won't get into here. Needless to say, though, the owner has been told}. Fortunately, it was a local removal, and I was done in about an hour. However, while I was at the funeral home getting ready to take the hearse out for the call, the owner stopped in to pick up his car, which he had left there while he and his wife had gone out for the evening. I tell him about our new call, and he asks me how this new call schedule is working with me and other guy. I tell him that I do all the removals, and the other guy does all the embalmings. Well, he flipped over that, and said it was stupid of me to have to do all the removals. I told him that was how my boss wanted it, and that I just did as I was told. He said he would have a talk with my boss about me doing all the removals.

Today, we had the service, which was very large. My boss was at work, and the owner and I were in the prep room, preparing to casket a body in preparation for shipment out of state. The owner is once again questioning me about making all the removals, and then he says, "I wonder if he's jealous of you?", meaning my boss. I admitted to him that I was thinking the same thing.

Don't get me wrong, I like everybody I work with and I have a lot of fun and we all get along pretty well, but my boss disagrees with some of the things I do, and it all boils down to professionalism. For instance, if someone calls in and wants something mailed to them, I'll usually type a brief note, "Dear John Customer, here is the information you requested. If you have any questions, please call...Sincerely..." My boss thinks things like that are a waste of time and completely unnecessary.

Another example. We had a family that ordered bookmarks with a special poem. We were to laminate them, along with a photo of the deceased. We decided on the backside of the bookmark we would write up a nice obituary and put it underneath the photo. So I typed something up, made a photocopy, and put it on. It looked like crap. I decided it would look more professional to print the obit directly onto the bookmark. My boss said no, but the owner said yes. Guess who I listened to? It ended up looking wonderful.

Bottom line, I think my boss is jealous of me, not because I know more than him. I don't. He's wonderful at handling families and answering questions over the phone and conveying the information in a personable way. It's just I think I do these little things that add a touch of professionalism, and he doesn't understand it.

Anyhow, now that the owner knows I've been making all the removals, hopefully the other guy will be called on a little bit more. It has always been a source of frustration to me to be the only guy called. I'll call my boss after finishing a visitation, and say something like, "I'm going home and get a bite to eat. Give me at least one hour to have supper." He'll tell me can't control when people die, and I'll say, "You can always send the other guy." But he never does.


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