Professional Mourner Jobs
When someone passes on, it’s important to grieve and show your support for family and friends. Attending the funeral or wake can be emotionally challenging. Next time you’re in this unfortunate situation, take stock of your fellow grievers – they might not be who you think they are.
Professional mourners, also called moirologists, are actors hired by family members to grieve at funerals and wakes. The intention is to increase the number of funeral participants, provide new faces, show support for the deceased, and help people deal with a tragedy through other’s expressions of grief. While many people are uncomfortable with the idea of professional mourners, it’s a job that is growing in popularity.
Professional mourning is not a new job. In many cultures it has been around for thousands of years. It dates back to China’s Emperor Wu of Han in 100 BC. People were paid to mourn in ancient Greece and Rome as well. In ancient Egypt, the number of mourners at the funeral represented the person’s status in the community. This created a big opportunity for professional mourners.
Thousands of years later, this unique job still exists. While this profession has somewhat disappeared in recent times, it is slowly regaining popularity – especially in certain cultures. The result is that professional mourner jobs are increasing.
Essentially, professional mourners are grief stricken actors who work in a very specific niche – mourning at funerals. The family or friends of the deceased seek out the services of a professional mourner for a variety of reasons. Typically they want to increase the appearance of the deceased’s popularity.
When a mourner is hired, they meet with the family to discuss the situation. It’s important to learn the details of the deceased, discover background information, and hear their “story.” Committing this information to memory, the mourner creates their grieving character. Then the mourner dresses appropriately and attends the service – weeping and wailing as necessary.
After the service, they are paid to mingle with funeral participants and share stories about the deceased. Professional mourners must be professional and discrete because most people attending a funeral will not know the mourner is getting paid to shed tears. At an appropriate time, the professional mourner slips away with the grieving guests none the wiser.
To be a successful professional mourner, you must be an outgoing, confident, punctual, and respectful conversationalist. You must be professional and discrete as you are playing a large part of a complete stranger’s final send-off. And of course, you must be a superb actor with the ability to cry when needed.
Being a professional mourner isn’t a full time job. It’s generally an on-call job. Although there are rare exceptions. According to the BBC, the very talented Liu Jun-Lin works as a professional mourner every day in Taiwan. Don’t expect to follow in her footsteps.
Professional mourner jobs are hard to find. They aren’t typically advertised on job boards. This job may require freelance tactics, tapping into the hidden job market, or utilizing contacts in the funeral or acting industry. In the United Kingdom, a growing company called Rent A Mourner dominates this niche.
If you do find a professional mourner job, you can expect to make $30 to $120 per funeral. Funerals typically last 2 to 3 hours – making it possible to attend two funerals per day.
Are you ready to shed a tear on command? Can you do your best acting at a complete stranger’s final farewell? If so, being a professional mourner might be the ideal part time job for you.
Quick Facts About Professional Mourner Jobs
Job Title: Professional Mourner aka Moirologists
Office: Funerals and Wakes
Description: Attend funerals to mourn the deceased
Certifications/Education: None required
Necessary Skills: Discretion, Professionalism, Acting skills, Outgoing
Potential Employers: Funeral Homes, Freelance, Rental Companies
Pay: $30 to $120 per funeral