Common Misconceptions about Funeral Directors

By: Greg Hurd
Monday, April 4, 2016

Many people have a lot of preconceptions about people who work in the funeral arrangement industry. Thanks to horror movies, pop culture, and general misinformation, many people have an idea in their head of the kinds of people who work in funeral homes: shadowy, ghoulish figures or dark and morbid individuals.

In fact, this couldn’t be farther from the truth, and in this article, we’re going to clarify some common misconceptions about your friendly neighborhood funeral directors:

The Funeral Industry is “Morbid”

In some cases, people pursue careers in the funeral industry because they believe that it is a morbid, or “creepy” profession. However, like most jobs out there the funeral industry comes with its share of interesting challenges, as well as slow and mundane tasks. A funeral home is providing a service, and, as a result, needs to be run like a regular business, such as a retail store, with cash flow, inventory, and booking details to handle.

Funeral directors and their staff are rarely morbid people; in fact, many people in the industry find that daily interactions with the deceased and their families inspire them to enjoy and reflect on their time on Earth in a positive way.

Undertaking is Emotionally Devastating

Similar to doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals who regularly see death and grief, funeral directors must make a point not to get emotionally involved in every funeral, and in fact rarely do so.

Empathy is certainly a big part of the job, but funeral directors must be careful not to let themselves get emotionally involved with the deceased or their families. Learning where to draw the line between empathy and emotional involvement is something that every funeral director must learn to do.

Funeral Directors are Experts on Death and Dying

What many people don’t realize is that most people do not receive specialized training to become a funeral director. More technical duties such as embalming require specialized training, but to become a successful funeral director, you rarely need more than empathy and respect for the deceased and their families. 

Funeral Directors and Employees Smell

A common misconception about people who work in funeral homes is that they carry a strong smell with them wherever they go because they spend all day working with the recently deceased. How funeral home employees smell can vary depending on a variety of factors, such as the state of the body of the deceased, the chemicals used in embalming, and which kind of equipment is used.

Ultimately, a funeral director is a person just like you, who goes to a job and provides a service that everyone needs at some point. And, while there are certainly funeral directors who live up to the stereotypes, the vast majority are just here to help families say a respectful goodbye to their loved ones.


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