Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Life As A Funeral Director

Back when I was 15 - at school we had to do 'Careers' as a subject. We had a teacher who had the world's biggest combover, wore short sleeve shirts and wreaked of BO. Not terribly inspirational.

As part of this course we had to answer a questionnaire on the computer, which would then tally up your likes, dislikes, favourite colour, favourite food and personal disposition, and spit out what it thought you should be.

Sounds exciting, doesn't it?

So that computer spat out my results. What it thought I should be when I grew up.

A funeral director.

My 15 year old brain imploded.

And then I left it there.

I continued school, studying anything I could that would move me away from becoming a funeral director. Visual arts. Drama. Modern history. English. No biology.

So it must have been three years later, towards the end of year twelve, when school leavers are preparing to hit the real world, and I was working out which degree I wanted to apply for. 

We had a different careers advisor by this time (phew) - and I shared my dream to tread the boards, and become an actress.

Her response: "You'll never make any money."

My 18 year old brain imploded.

Way to take my dreams, hold them up to the light, then throw them to the ground and stomp on them. Repeatedly. Way to go.

So I ditched the idea of going to NIDA.

I completely ditched it. Those dreams were dashed, and I've never really reconsidered it. Those poorly chosen words just kept ringing in my ears.
Instead the careers advisor told me I should pursue something like public relations.

And I did. I went to uni, attended one class of public relations theory, left that class and thought "I can't sit through that" - and enrolled in Writing instead. But worked in PR the whole way through my degree. I got the best of both worlds.

But lately I've been thinking of being a funeral director and how life would have been so different. It takes a gentle art to be a funeral director I think.

Have you ever had a mid-life crisis/career change?

image via: Daily Mail


Salsa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Salsa said...

I went back to uni to become a paintings conservator, but met my future husband a few weeks before I started the course. A year later I moved to Switzerland, Masters unfinished, and I've been in a sort of career limbo ever since. I would love to train as a psychoanalyst, but can't really see how I could make it happen at this stage. I still would love to work as a paintings conservator, but getting qualified here is a crazy pipe dream.

Elizabeth. said...

I'm having a career crisis NOW. It sucks. But I'm pretty sure I don't want to work in retail anymore (getting an abusive phone call from my boss's wife telling me that I'm just a retail worker was the last straw), so I've applied to study business. My plan is to become a bookkeeper/accountant/etc. It's hard because I want to start a family soon, so I needed to choose something that will fit in around that.

[Good Mum Hunting] said...

A funeral director? DANG! You could have been like Dan Akroyd in My Girl.

Me? I was told I would be good as a physio (my love for the human body) or a vet.

I always dreamed of being a pilot. Not a flight attendant (not that there's anything wrong with that!) but I wanted to be a pilot.

I'm not level headed enough though. Thinking about having 400 people's lives in my hand on a daily basis FREAKS ME OUT!!

I studied business/marketing in college. And then worked in marketing, then worked in music/media until I had kids.

If I went back to work now? I'd like to be many things. A florist. Own my own shop. A psychologist. A counsellor. A midwife. Many dreams...

My husband is having an early mid life cri... He has worked for the SAME company for 11 years. And he's only 31. He is over it. And needs a change. But it's hard.

I know someone studying at NIDA. It sounds pretty intense, but if anyone could do it, it's you Lexi. DO IT! I will come and see you on stage at the theatres in Walsh Bay when you graduate!!


Fiona said...

Ugh, Careers teachers. Surely it's not so hard to be encouraging? When I told my Careers teacher (as we were looking for places to do work experience) that I wanted to be a a film director she told me to "get my head out of the clouds". I flinched and said I was also interested in being a writer and she said "Get back down to Earth!" and that I should try getting work experience "at Red Rooster". Anyway, I did my own, off-the-school-books work experience at ABC studios and learned heaps, did official work experience at a bookstore, and now I have Industry Contacts. All I have to do is write something. :P

In other news, later-in-life career changes are the best. Who expects you to be the same person you were as a teenager? I say go for it, and that applies to whoever reads this. I mean you! Do it! It's never too late.

spectacularfairywren said...

Lexi that comPuter told me I should be a teacher... I think sometimes I wish I was...
At least kids are entitled to act like a pack of children (while 45 y o engineers should knOw better)..
I like to think about work as the place I go to pay for great weekends and holidays... And to close the toilet door behind me...

shine little light* said...

I went to NIDA and I make money. You just have to do the non acting courses is all ;)
BUT I have career crisis alllll the freakin time. I swear to god one day im gonna toss all this theatre in and become a midwife. *s*

small catalogue said...

Every. Freakin. Day. Any job looks better than mine. I do not love being a nurse/midwife (sorry). For reals. xxx

Kate said...

We once visited an open day at the funeral home. It was completely fascinating. They showed us everything - except in the fridge. They were open and answered any question. I ended up asking the man how he got into the business and he used to work in a fish and chip and there was a funeral home nearby. The men from there used to come in for lunch all the time and one day they asked if he'd be interested in working with them. He said sure and had worked in the industry ever since. So, there is still time for you if you wish to live your dream of being a funeral director. :)

Laura Jane said...

fascinated to see midwife come up for a few commenters - but i DID do a 40 y.o. change and became a midwife!

It combines all of my skills and passions, and I am very happy doing it now as a homebirth practitioner. Lucky me! I still pinch myself.

It was hard work, but i knew that it would make my outside match my inside. NO REGRETS!!!!