Looking for Odd Jobs in Britain – Professional Mourner

So you’ve completed your academic education. You’ve earned your degree! And what now… Why not be a professional mourner?  It’s not hard. All you need to be able to do is turn on the waterworks and convince everyone else you are beside yourself with grief now that this excellent person has departed the mortal coil.

Professional mourning has a distinguished history and is practiced all over the world. In Britain, according to John Walsh in a well-respected newspaper (associated with The Independent), witchy women attended funerals of strangers  to “wail over the body in an open coffin.” This happened routinely when Walsh’s Irish forbears on the Atlantic coast signed them up to perform this important and edifying task. These ladies were known as “keeners.”  Sometimes, the distraught widow would comfort herself with a small dram of tipple well away from the mad cacophony.

One important point: you have to do a little research first, and pretend you knew the deceased fairly intimately so you can exchange convincing confidences with others attending the wake. It helps if your handwriting skills are well-developed when you are required to come up with hand-written cards or anything alike. It may be a good idea to take a course in calligraphy just to make sure you master the craft!

Apparently, it’s well worth the trouble, as it can be a most lucrative career. So if you’re serious about landing a well-paying and out-of-the-ordinary job, give this option more than just a first thought. There is a company called Rent-a-Mourner in Braintree in Essex, and the amount quoted for good quality professional mourners is in the region of £45 per hour.

But you must be prepared to put on a good show and make a lot of noise so as to impress upon all the congregation what a great person the deceased was when he or she was alive. If it’s hard to get yourself in the mood to weep, I always find thinking about drowned kittens helps, although I have yet to use this skill in the capacity of a professional mourner. Very often, professional mourners play a crucial role when it comes to mediation between different family members who have their own feelings and interests.

I think I will put aside a few quid so I can have half a dozen or so at my send-off. It sounds excellent value.  Not for me those jolly wakes where everyone has to wear bright colors and sing and joyfully celebrate the passing of the departed spirit. No, I want everyone to be thoroughly miserable and devastated at my loss, and if a few competent weepers can enhance my heavenly credibility, then so be it.

On the other hand, the really bizarre thing about this is that it is so not British. Many people won’t make a public fuss at their own relative’s funeral; being paid to do it in public at a stranger’s do is just odd. So if you don’t have the powerful traits necessary to become a successful entrepreneur, this professional field might just be your cup of tea!