It’s the start of another new year.
With the new goes the old.
2017 has been an exciting year for me; with me entering the funeral industry.
I must admit I had my doubts initially with regards to my own capabilities to handle the responsibilities associated with this job. The funeral industry and the industry I was envisioning myself to be in (Audit/Accounting) my entire life are world’s apart. I graduated with an Accounting Degree from the National University of Singapore and naturally, I expected myself to at least put my degree to good use by working in a related field. I was working as an auditor in one of the big 4 before I decided to enter the death trade. The hours as an auditor were cruelly long but I guess God was using that experience to train my perseverance. I was really blessed to have had chances to travel overseas and to USA whilst working as an auditor. I was also blessed to have had nice supportive colleagues around me at that point of time.
It was in Houston where I received a phone call by my Dad informing me of his deteriorating health. I felt helpless then, not being able to be there physically for him when he needed emotional support.
Back in Singapore, I started to really think about life, about what it really is and what I would want to make of it. Life is what we make it to be isn’t it? That’s what we all learnt when younger yet we often forget this simple truth. As we grow, the realities of life can overwhelm us that we forget what’s really important to us. At the end of the day, we can’t carry money or any material possessions into the afterlife with us. What is left behind really, are memories created with our friends and families. People don’t remember how rich or powerful you are. People remember your deeds and how you make them feel.
I’ve always known that my family is in the business of death. My Dad always tell me stories of how my Grandfather painstakingly created this legacy (His Coffin Company) from scratch. I’ve never gotten to see my Grandfather but my parents would always tell me how great a person he is. I’ve had friends encouraging me to enter the same trade in NUS and I did considered entering the funeral line upon graduation from NUS but some of my relatives advised me against it. They thought that it would be better for me to gain experience in the working world first. Coupled with the fact that I had a job offer even before graduating, I decided that it was no harm working out there first.
Somehow upon knowing that Dad’s days are numbered (In fact all our days are), the thought of entering the funeral trade flashed through my mind. Queer as it may sound, but it’s true. I was burdened with this thought for a few days before I started to consider seriously about the odds of me joining this trade. Joining this trade would mean I would be sacrificing the years where I could potentially build my portfolio to be a professional Accountant/Auditor.
The many uncertainties I was to face also instilled fear in me – Could I handle facing deaths daily given that I was such a coward when it comes to watching horror movie? Was I competent enough to coordinate the entire funeral? Would I be able to blend in with the co-workers? How would people be thinking about me? Wasn’t I wasting my years of University if I am going to do something that didn’t require anything I learnt in University?
I then consulted my pastor. He didn’t give me definite answers and instead asked me to seek guidance from God. I prayed about my career, about what I was to do with this life of mine that actually belongs to Him. I even took a month off work just to think about it seriously. I believe everything happens for a reason and I wasn’t accidentally/coincidentally born into a family that happens to be doing this trade. I believe more in divine intervention than in chances. I then decided to garner my courage to take the leap of faith.
And then poof, I did the career switch. As with all beginnings, the start was the toughest – getting used to the working environment, getting used to the new job roles. I will write about the difficulties in another post as this post is getting a tad too long.
There is no slightest tinge of regret of making the career switch till date. Sometimes I pass by CBD, see the beautiful skyline Singapore has to offer and think of what could be but then I am still really happy I made the decision to enter this trade.
I doubt words can do justice as to how I feel. The job satisfaction obtained from this job is tremendous. When I know that I am there for the family members both emotionally and physically, and that the funeral has been a success with everything rightly in place, I know that I have done my job well. I’ve received many words of encouragement from my kind clients and exchanged many edifying stories with them. On days where I receive a bonus – a commendation for my service, I give thanks and glory to God and make it known to the clients that I don’t do what I do through my own abilities but through God.
God has been my only constant throughout, on days both good and bad.
As 2017 comes to an end, I’ve also created a video just for laughs. The video depicts the everyday life of me and my beloved co-workers. My co-workers have taught me much and have also provided me with much support even when I could offer nothing in return. Interacting with them has allowed me to know them better and the enjoyable times spent together will be etched in my mind for a long time, even if say a day comes where I am no longer here. The office is akin to my second home while my co-workers have become close to family members. I do not know what the future brings. Only God knows but at least for now, I know I am where I need to be at exactly the right place and doing the right thing. Thank You God for the amazing 2017.
Sometimes life works in wonders; it takes us to places we least expect ourselves to be.