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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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Still Working Out The Logistics

Things have been up in the air since we acquired the new funeral home. We're still hammering out the logistics of embalming, visitation, errands, and the like. Right now everything, with a couple of exceptions, are being handled at the primary location. The only exceptions are the death certificates and other paperwork of the calls at the new location are still being generated there, and the original owner is still meeting with families. Also, they still host their own visitations, but we staff them. Other than that, we handle all the embalming, errand running, memorial packages, etc.

Of course, this can be quite trying at times, especially when the paperwork from the new location is not quite up to snuff. For example, last week I made a removal and took the body to the cooler at the new location. I found a death certificate at the log-in desk with a note to have it filed and wait for the copies to be made, then return them to the new location. Well, when I got back to the original location, I looked the death certificate over to make sure it was in order. I found three things that should have been taken care of before I ever got it. Item one was a typo, which I had pointed out to my boss before I even took it to the doctor for signing. The next two items were the names of the deceased's parents. No first name for the father, no name at all for the mother. After fixing the typo, I called the new location and got the information and filled it in.

I filed it and waited for the copies. When I gave them to my boss, I pointed out that it was not ready for filing, that I had to fix those mistakes. His attitude was, "don't look at me, I didn't type it." I pointed out that he could have proofed it. His response was that he had other things to do. I told him that I did, too. He then asked me what they were, and I told him. He then informed me that the death certificate was more important than the tasks I was working on. I couldn't help but think that if it was so important, why didn't he give it the attention it deserved?

Another similiar incident happened today. Our errand guy also had one of their certificates that he was ordered to wait on. When he went to file it, it was rejected because the doctor had used White Out on the Cause of Death section, which is a violation of the requirements of the Vital Statistics office. (Certain items on a death certificate cannot, in any way, be altered or tampered with). So we had to generate a new certificate and take it back to the doctor. Had the certificate been checked upon it's return to the new location, steps could already have been taken to correct the situation.

I also had a run in with my boss yesterday. He does not know how to handle his subordinates. I chalk it up to youth and inexperience in supervising employees. (He's about 30, and has only worked one other job in his life). If I ask a question that he thinks is stupid, or that I should know better, he'll smart off with some wise-ass remark. For example, we had what I was told was a Greek family that came in off the street with a death in the family. Greeks bury their dead about 99.9% of the time, which is ironic considering ancient Greeks, for all intents and purposes, invented cremation. Anyhow, I was in the prep room working on an embalming, when I hear the doorbell ring, which I took to mean the Greek family had left. A few moments later my boss comes in, talking on his cell phone about a direct cremation call. So I assumed (mistake on my part) he was talking about the Greeks. He then went into the kitchen area and started posting this call on the board. I walked in behind him and asked, "So the Greeks went with direct cremation?" He snapped, "Does it look like I'm writing that on the board?" I told him I didn't appreciate being talked to like that, that a simple yes or no would have been sufficient. He starts fussing at me, "I don't know where you got the idea this was the same call? I don't want you getting your facts mixed up and passing out the wrong information." So I explained why I thought the Greek call was cremation, and pointed out to him, again, that he didn't have to talk to me like that; that all I wanted was a little respect.

I did turn the tables on him a few weeks ago, though. I made a removal and was instructed to contact the family, then call him when I had done that. I tried calling the family, but there was no answer, only a machine. A short while later, he calls and asks if I had made contact. I told him I got the machine, but would try in a little while. He told me to call him as soon as I made contact and let him know what was going on. I repeated back to him, "As soon as I make contact, I will call you." I tried to reach the family again, and got the machine again. This time I left a message. A short time later my boss calls. "Have you made contact yet?" Rather testily, I snapped back, "Have I called you yet?" It was the best part of my day.

All I can say is that one good thing to come out of this acquisition is the fact that my boss spends most of his time at the new location, which keeps him out of my hair.


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