Monday, April 27, 2009

I Don't See Dead People

I had an interview on Friday at a funeral home.

It dawned on me as I was waiting for my interviewer that they probably don't decorate for the holidays at funeral homes. Definitely not Halloween. Bummer. Somewhere from the back a man emerged, tall and droopy like an old sunflower. He asked me for my papers without meeting my eyes and then we stood side by side for a couple of minutes awkwardly. It gave me time to stare at the three paisley couches in the room. Paisley. Good God, why?

I was rescued soon after by an older Italian man with the same first name as my Father. He entertained me for the next thirty minutes while I waited for the boss. "Are you married?" He asked. "Since November." "Bless you." He explained that the first gentlemen I'd met was the funeral director, Vance. Apparently, no one liked Vance because he was annoying. He was also the person I would be working with. Great. "Does this place creep you out?" "Maybe a little." I replied, staring at the couches.

I can't remember the name of the man who interviewed me. I think I might have been distracted by the urns that filled the room we were sitting in. He explained that the job was not for an administrative assistant position, as had been posted. It was for an office manager and substitute funeral director. On occasion I might have to wheel around bodies. I might even have to touch them. "But we'd never make you embalm them." As if that were an option!

I would be in charge of accounting and sales and funeral arrangements, a real one-woman-show. "Where will the funeral director be?" I asked. "Out selling, mostly. He visits all the retirement communities." For some odd reason, that disturbed me the most. Fortunately, the pay was lower than I was willing to accept. I say fortunately because I might have taken the job otherwise, out of obligation. But it didn't make me feel good. Despite the awesome blog fodder it might have created.

I knew when I left that they were going to offer me the position. "You can't work at a funeral home!" My Mom cried over the phone on my way home. "How will you ever make friends?!" Thanks Ma. "How'd it go?" Hoop asked when I walked in the door. "Did you knock them dead? I bet you killed them." They called this morning. They wanted me to start immediately. "It's not the direction I want to take my career," I told the woman politely.

Because I don't see dead people.

Not even professionally.


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21 Comments:

At 27 April, 2009, Blogger furiousBall said...

I don't like Vance because he eats babies. I mean probably

 
At 28 April, 2009, Blogger Jay said...

I hope you didn't pass up a killer opportunity. But it sounds like a dead end job.

Was the music playing over the intercom system The Greatful Dead?

I bet they don't even provide health insurance. They just look at their employees as future customers.

If you only had three hands for bridge you could just prop up one of the stiffs to be the dummy.

Ohhhh .. Could you take one of them home with you so you could drive in the carpool lane?

I don't think the job would have provided much blog fodder though. Most of the people you would be working with are so stiff and boring.

Of course, it would have provided GREAT commenting fodder for me!!!! LOL

Seriously though. The guy trolling the old folks homes for casket nappers creeps me out.

 
At 28 April, 2009, Blogger Betty said...

Trolling the retirement homes is just wrong! Our two funeral homes always decorate for Christmas. And they always get loads of kids banging on the door at Hallowe'en. Go figure.

 
At 28 April, 2009, Anonymous Raven said...

No matter how much I loved Six Feet Under, I don't know if I could actually touch the bodies.

 
At 28 April, 2009, Blogger Tawcan said...

Good for you for not taking the job. It's not something you want to be doing when you're this young and it's a dead end career. Times are tough but I'm sure something will surface soon. Hang in there Tink. :)

 
At 28 April, 2009, Blogger Gordo said...

That would be weird, but isn't going from a beer company to a funeral home a pretty natural progression? ;-)

 
At 28 April, 2009, Blogger Candy Minx said...

Wow, what an interview. I almost moved into an apartment above a funeral home. The rent was cheap because you had to be on call 24/7 to answer phones and let in "deliveries"...it didn't work out and I think I'm relieved...

 
At 28 April, 2009, Anonymous Mike said...

of COURSE they pay is lower.

They expect you to scavenge the bodies for cash, jewelery, watches, etc.

Kind of like a waitress and her tips.

DUH!

 
At 28 April, 2009, Blogger Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...

I dunno, in Florida? You figure funeral parlors are always gonna be busy and making the big bucks...

 
At 28 April, 2009, Blogger Chris said...

But was it nice to get a job offer at least?!

 
At 28 April, 2009, Blogger Fortune Cookies said...

the job market is tough right now...but I'm glad you wont be working at the funeral home. That Vance dude trolling the retirement homes for customers is just way too TOO for me.
Good luck getting a great job with live people.
Maybe you can come help me out with Sunny Dog Snacks! When they get big and famous, that is ;)

 
At 28 April, 2009, Blogger Knot said...

I had a friend who was a funeral director and embalmer. WILD stories.

I held off telling you, but he used to call early early in the morning. like 2 or 3 AM. I knew when the phone rang and it was him that he had to pick up a child that night. He used to dip his cigarettes in formaldehyde and smoke them. He said it was a cheap high. And other things made the biz crazy.

Probably would have been a good job though.

 
At 28 April, 2009, Blogger Persnickety Ticker said...

If all else fails, take the job, work there for 6 weeks while you write a bestseller about the ins and out of dying in Florida.

NYTimes Bestsellers pay well I hear.

Best of luck with the job hunt!

 
At 28 April, 2009, Blogger Janet said...

It's strange that the ad was not for what it said it was...glad you didn't take it.

 
At 28 April, 2009, Blogger LL said...

I'm shocked and appalled now... All the good one liners have already been taken.

But seriously... It sounds like a lot of work, but you probably should have taken the job. I mean... then I wouldn't be the only one around here to have handled a corpse!

Ok... one more one liner for the road...

You should have gone to work there, people are just dying to get into mortuaries...

 
At 28 April, 2009, Blogger Aunt Jackie said...

Do you realize how down and depressed that would make you?? You would not be able to make it with a positive attitude I don't think. If possible ANY of us need to find something that we enjoy doing. I know these are tough economic times, but we still have control over our happiness! :)

No more of this talk now, it is a dead subject :-O hehe

 
At 28 April, 2009, Blogger ETK said...

Ha! I think that would have been funny if you worked there. I grew up in a funeral home and worked in the office for years. True, it can be depressing and I was told MORE THAN ONCE that I was WAY too chipper to answer the phone the way I was answer it. But it is just a job. And would have DEFINITELY made for some good blog fodder. most of those people are CRAZY - I know, my whole family is in the business. CRAZY MFers.

 
At 28 April, 2009, Blogger Persnickety Ticker said...

Sadly it sounds like they are just looking for any warm body to fill the position. They must get a lot of walk-ins at that location. :P

 
At 28 April, 2009, OpenID kcinnova said...

That is just...weird. I mean, they didn't want what they advertised because they knew it wouldn't bring you in. And I can't imagine taking a job with someone who is a terrible boss and you already know it up front! You made the right choice.

"It's not the direction I want to take my career." As in, dead?? You need a job where you can SHINE... or at least live and laugh. Keep looking! There's something good out there for you, I just know it!

 
At 28 April, 2009, Blogger Woman in a Window said...

Aw! I feel a deep sense of loss...all those terrible stories and you'd be an intimate in. Well, not INTIMATE...

 
At 29 April, 2009, Blogger Terri said...

Eeeck that would have been nasty to work there. Gives me the creeps but you are right about one thing, you would have had some awesome tales to tale!

 

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