It is very important to have a good support system. And I have a great support system with my husband and family; people who love and encourage me in everything that I do. When I come home from work, I can count on them to be there for me and help me unwind.
But it’s also very important to have a good work support system.
You better like the people you work with.
Because you will see them a lot. Like, a lot, a lot. (Like more than your own family, a lot.)
I am very blessed; seriously. I work with amazing people who I can count on and who always have my back. My team is A+, with gents who will do anything I ask of them without question. It is SO important to be able to trust the people you work with, but it’s sometimes more rare to like them all.
When you have these people in your work life, everything gets easier. You feel weight being lifted off of you as you slowly realize, you don’t have to do it all yourself. Funeral homes thrive when you have an amazing team, not just an amazing funeral director or embalmer. If one puzzle piece is out of place, well, the picture just won’t be right.
And how do we get this amazing team?
Well, I’m so happy you asked!
Find people who not only love what they do but are good at what they do. I am not so great at embalming. Embalming can be a beautiful art form, where you take a person who has suffered in death and give them back to their family in a restful, sometimes healthier looking state. It takes care and attention to detail. No matter how many bodies I embalmed, I could never truly give them that ‘rested’ look. I did not have that skill in me. Because I was not pleased with the final product, I found myself getting upset and anxious over what the families might think about their loved ones. Sometimes, it would make me sick. So now, I do not embalm. I am really awesome at making arrangements. I can connect with families almost instantly making them feel at ease and comfortable. I am able to read people, knowing when to offer them a hug or a tissue. I can talk to them and have them open up to me. I get such joy out of the fact that I am able to reach them during a difficult time.
When you find what you love and what you’re good at it, you want to do it again and again. When you have co-workers who equally love their jobs and are good at it, the entire funeral process just unfolds beautifully before your eyes. So if you’re great with families and not-so-great in the back room, do not get discouraged. You are an important piece of the puzzle. You do not have to do it all. I repeat you do not have to do it all. Oh, and please, don’t forget to laugh and have fun every once in a while. Yes, this is an important job, but we’re all human. Sometimes, we need to remind ourselves that we’re not the ones in the casket. Just remember, there is a time and a place for everything.
And finally, thank you to my guys, Dan, Ed, Keith, Jim, Ray and Dave (or as I lovingly call him, Opa). You make my job fun. (Yeah, even you, Keith.)