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, March 26, 2009

Hitting The Ground Running

When I left work yesterday, all of our funeral/memorial services had been concluded, all of our paperwork was finished, all of the death certificates had either been picked up from the health department or had been filed. In short, we were pretty much caught up with all the immediate work that comes with a death call.

When I arrived at work this morning, I saw that we had a new call, then my boss arrives from another call, and informs me that not only did we have those two calls, we had a third and were waiting for the body to be released. While he's bringing me up to speed, a man walks in and tells us his mom died, and another firm has her, but he wants to use us. While my boss was making arrangements with him, the phone rings and the caller tells us her mom died a few hours south of us, but that we have the pre-arrangements. Very quickly we went from being caught up to having five new calls. Needless to say, today was kind of hectic. We met with two of the families, handled our long-distance call via telephone, and have two appointments for tomorrow morning.

But, as I've said before, now matter how busy we get, I still love my job. Especially nowadays, where job security is more important than ever.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Overtime And Smacking The Boss Around

I am racking up some serious overtime this week. I've got thirteen hours of OT, plus three from last week, for a total of 16 hours on this paycheck. Unfortunately, it's also close to tax time, so guess where most of that money is going? Uncle Sam.

Sometimes I would just love to smack my boss around until he gets it through his head that I can be counted on to do what I say. Tonight we got a call, so I sent Returning Employee out. I then called my boss and told him about the call. He instructed me to make contact with the family, then call him when I found out what the arrangements were. I called the family, but there was no answer. So I decided to try back after a while. My boss calls back wanting to know what I found out. I told him there was no answer, and that I would try again in a few minutes. He told me to call him when I made contact. I told him the minute I talked to the family, I would call him. So I called back, again there was no answer, and this time I left a message. I left work and on the way home, my phone rings. I see that it's my boss calling, and when I answer he asks me if I had talked to the family. I asked him, "Have I called you back yet...?" He didn't like that, but I don't care. Once again, he told me to call him when I made contact.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Stepping Up

Work has been very busy this week. We've averaged a call a day this month, and last Friday I went out on three calls after hours. One of the calls was to be a direct burial at the National Cemetery, so it was decided I would be allowed to embalm by myself. I tried raising the right femoral artery, and found it almost immediately, but it seemed to be too superficial (close to the surface of the leg, as opposed to deep, as in deep down inside the tissues). I started injecting, but fluid wasn't moving. I began to suspect I was trying to inject the vein, so I started looking for another artery. I found one, but it was small and not very flexible. After further attempts at injecting the first artery, I decided I was in over my head on this case and asked for assistance. So, I'm sorry to say my first embalming didn't work out too well. But each experience has something to teach, so I'll try to do better on my next attempt.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Glorified Janitor

Lately at work I've been feeling like nothing more than a glorified janitor. Business was unusually slow in February, but March has been an improvement, somewhat. During the last half of February, we had very few calls, so I spent a good deal of time keeping the funeral home clean. Even when business started picking up, either my boss or the owner would make the arrangements. I started thinking that one day the owner would realize I'm just an overpaid custodian and wonder why he was paying me good money to do work anybody would do for half the wages.

However, now that the owner has acquired another funeral home, it looks like everyone will have to step up to the plate, so to speak, to get the new place running as well as the original. To that end, my boss spent his day at the new acquisition, leaving me to deal with the call we received last night. I contacted the family, set up the appointment, made the arrangements, wrote the obituary, generated the paperwork, and even delivered the death certificate to the doctor's office. Our other employees were also at the new place, starting the long, laborious process of getting it clean. Takes A Day Off was wondering if they had brooms over there, and Returning Employee said, "yeah, but I'll bet they've never been used." If this pattern continues, it looks like I'll be handling things at the original location while my boss puts in his time at the new place.

I will confess that making arrangements is not one my favorite things to do. I much prefer working in the prep room, embalming and preparing the bodies. Depending on how things work out with the new place, I might find myself doing more of that, as well, which would suit me just fine.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Known Shipper

I've been assigned the task of registering our firm as a known shipper with various airlines. This is a mandate from the Transportation Safety Administration. Everyone who uses air cargo on a regular basis must register with each carrier they use. The downside is each airline can charge anywhere from $60 to $90 to register.

In my previous post I alluded to the fact that we may be expanding. Generally speaking, the owner of the the funeral home I work at is planning to buy one of our competitors. The deal is about 99% negotiated; pretty much the only thing left to do is sign the contracts, which could happen at any time. The downside is the funeral home he is buying out is filthy and full of junk. I know we'll be spending the first few weeks cleaning and fixing things up. On top of this, we'll be working out of both funeral homes. The existing staff will stay on, under our supervision as we train them to do things the way the new owner wants them done. In addition, the funeral home being purchased has a crematory attached. One thing for sure that will be happening is that we will all become certified crematory operators, which will help us perform our cremations in a very timely fashion, as opposed to the delays we've been experiencing recently. Not even the owner is sure of how things will work out, who's going to be at which location doing what, etc. Needless to say there is a lot of uncertainty and expectancy in the air.