As technology advances, more and more jobs are being transformed and even rendered out-of-date. It won't be long before we start seeing robots doing jobs like postal delivery and crop-picking, just as they already do jobs on assembly lines that, not so long ago, a human being would have filled. But some jobs aren't affected by advancing technology - jobs that need a personal touch.
Being a funeral director is one of these jobs. There is an essential technical side, but the personal side is equally important. A funeral director must have the ability to help people through one of the most difficult times of their lives: the loss of a loved one. Funeral directors also discuss funeral plans with the living, guiding them through all the options and choices that are available to them. All of these situations require tact, understanding and sympathy - people skills that aren't going to be made out-of-date by advancing technology.
This is why the funeral business is a good option for someone who wants a solid future in an uncertain world. More younger people are becoming funeral directors, entering a profession that isn't going to disappear any time soon and that, by making unique demands and calling on unique skills, never grows boring or routine. As someone once said: The only certainties in life are death and taxes. True, as we can see from the news, some manage to escape their fair share of taxes, but the end of life comes at last for everyone. With an ageing population, there will be more funerals every year and more business for funeral directors to oversee.
Although it is a job that is essentially about dealing with people, it's like everything else in the modern world: a lot of business is now carried out on the internet, where people often do their initial research before they make contact with a company. Young people who have grown up with the internet are well-equipped to deal with this side of the profession, using email and social media to provide information and deal with enquiries. Computers also help with many other aspects of business, like ordering stock and equipment, but they will never eliminate the personal side of a job that more and more people will be calling on as the population ages and funerals become an ever-more familiar part of everyday life.
This combination of the technical and the personal makes being a funeral director both challenging and rewarding. In the past, like many other professions, people often became funeral directors almost by birth, joining a firm that had perhaps been run by their family for generations. Those long-running family firms are still with us, offering decades and even centuries of expertise, but the funeral business is now a more open world, adapting to a changing world and offering opportunities to young people who might not have considered entering the profession in the past.
Amidst all these changes, one thing remains certain: grieving people will need and appreciate the personal touch offered by funeral directors who combine skill with professionalism, tact with sympathy. Those qualities are found in people of all ages and the traditional image of a funeral director will change more and more as the years go by, even as the need for people skills remains.