OCCUPATION THESAURUS

FUNERAL DIRECTOR



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HELPFUL TIP:

How your character makes a living is an important decision. After all, there’s probably a good reason why they chose this career. Think about how they pull on certain talents and skills, have positive or negative traits, and adhere to a specific work ethic to excel. Sometimes characters choose an occupation because of how they were raised, something they experienced, or even an emotional wound, so consider how all of these things will show readers who they are deep down, and why they do what they do.
OVERVIEW:
Funeral directors oversee end-of-life preparations (either to pre-plan a funeral, or after death) and will have a variety of responsibilities including body pick-up, preparing legal documentation, working with surviving family members to arrange for funeral services (the burial and cremations arrangements, casket and flower arrangement options, music and slideshow options, attending to the obituary and creating pamphlets for the service, transportation, etc.). A director also coordinates with a church and minister (if used), volunteers, caterers, florists, and any other agencies required. They also oversee the funeral service itself, ensuring everything is run according to the wishes of the deceased and their family.

Often the funeral director will also prepare the body itself, attending to storage, embalming, body preparation (dressing and appearance), and cremation (if it is requested). If so, the director may be called an embalmer or mortician.

This profession requires a special sort of person, someone who is not only comfortable with death but also highly empathetic. They must have a strong work ethic and be able to handle long hours and an unfixed schedule. Death isn’t 9-5, and people working in this industry can receive call outs for body pickups at any time of the day or night, seven days a week.  Funeral directors often miss out on family outings, birthdays, and special events because duty calls, and so if they have a family, the support and understanding of its members regarding the job is imperative.

NECESSARY TRAINING:
Required education may vary depending on the state or location one practices in, so if this factors into your story in a real-world locale, do some research for that area. In general, though,  most directors will have an associate's or bachelor's degree in mortuary science. A funeral director also needs a license to practice in the state they work in. Directors must also be educated in the legal aspects of body preparation and follow strict guidelines and procedures, not only for the forms to be filled out (death certificates, etc.) but also in the case of chain of evidence situations so that any legal proceedings can move forward seamlessly.

Funeral directors also require “soft skills” to work well with those who have lost loved ones. To offer genuine support in a difficult time, a director should be compassionate, a good communicator, and have strong patience. Grieving people may struggle with decision-making and memory recall, or may change their minds frequently because they are in a very emotional state so being able to navigate this and remain calm and supportive is essential.

USEFUL SKILLS, TALENTS, OR ABILITIES:

HELPFUL POSITIVE TRAITS:
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HELPFUL NEGATIVE TRAITS:
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EMOTIONAL WOUNDS THAT MAY HAVE FACTORED INTO THIS OCCUPATION CHOICE:
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SOURCES OF FRICTION:
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PEOPLE THEY MIGHT INTERACT WITH:
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HOW THIS OCCUPATION MIGHT IMPACT ONE'S BASIC NEEDS:
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TWISTING THE STEREOTYPE:
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REASONS THE CHARACTER MAY HAVE BEEN DRAWN TO THIS PROFESSION:
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