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, July 10, 2008

Yesterday Was Nuts!

I cannot believe how crazy yesterday (Wednesday) was! Tuesday night my boss calls me to let me know we've got a call, and it's a prominent family and will likely be a big service. He scheduled the family to come in on Wednesday at 10am to make the arrangements.

About a month ago, my boss met with a man who wanted to prepare for his father's funeral ahead of time. Services call for full military honors with an active duty military honor guard. Well, this gentleman passed away Wednesday morning. The son called to let us know, which is unusual. Usually the hospice nurse or the hospital makes those calls. He told us he wanted to follow us back to the funeral home when we came for his father. My boss talked to him and told him to have hospice call us when they were ready for us to come out. He waited about 2 hours before he gave hospice permission to call us.

In the meantime, my boss finishes up with the first family. They wanted services Saturday, so we start calling the church. There were two churches we could use; both were booked. The only time we could get was 8 am or 4pm. So this set off a flurry of phone calls between the family, the priests, and the funeral home. The afternoon was a nonstop round of calls in an effort to work something out.

While this is going on, my boss and another guy go on the other call. The son follows them back and finalizes the arrangements. Bear in mind he's already spent about two hours with his father prior to us coming out. Then he tells us he wants to see his dad after he finishes the arrangements. I could understand if he hadn't seen dad yet, but he just spent two hour with him. As for the funeral, he wanted burial at the National Cemetery and the active duty military honor guard, yet he had virtually no paperwork verifying his father's time in the military. I put in the request to the National Cemetery. They call St. Louis, which is where military records are kept, and verify eligibility, so the burial is set. Then I try to arrange the honor guard, but they won't do anything without proof of service. So I call the cemetery back, asking if they can give me a service number or something to satisfy the honor guard. They can't do that due to privacy laws, but they tell me to have the honor guard call them. Well, the honor guard doesn't do that. So we have to call St. Louis and try to get a copy of his discharge papers. They don't take those requests over the phone, so I had to go to their website and put in the request, which takes 10 days to process! So I immediately call them up and tell them I've put in my request and I need it now. They put me on the fast track and about 4:45pm today, I get the paperwork I need. The honor guard is satisfied and confirmed, and everything is set for tomorrow.

It doesn't sound like much when you read it; you just have to imagine about 3 hours of nonstop faxes and phone calls, trying to get all these details worked out.

On top of it all, Errand Guy is still out. He was supposed to be in today, but didn't show up. About 4pm he calls and says he won't be in tomorrow, either. He's supposed to be on call Friday night, so we'll see if he works if we get a call. He did say he would be in Saturday for the funeral, but I asked my boss, "he'll be in Saturday like he was going to be in today?" The owner is aware of the situation, and said he'll deal with it when he returns to work. He's been out of town for past few days.

What frustrates me about this situation, on top of everyone having to pick up the extra work, is that my boss seems to think this is none of his business. If you have an employee who is under your supervision, how can a three-week layout be none of your business, especially when you own a share of the business?

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