Dream job #1: Unexpected Dinner

Posted on August 11th, 2009 by

With this post, I initiate a new, occasional feature in Philosophers on Holiday, “Dream Jobs.” In the midst of this economic recession, I find that my thoughts cannot help but drift in the direction of the utterly fantastical and highly unworkable. Dream Jobs are just such things; they couldn’t ever really work except in your dreams, and if you ever could iron out the financial, legal and practical logistics to make one float, the job would become unappealing in about a month’s time.

Dream Job #1 is a simple one to describe:  you show up at the home of someone in the midst of some sort of crisis, chaos, or household-interrupting event, large or small. You carry with you a box containing a full home-cooked meal, appropriately sized for the number of members in the household. You knock on the door, you say “I brought dinner,” you hand them the box and you leave.

I can already see some of you out there y raising the problems with this business model (“how will you find out who’s in a crisis? who will get charged for this service? how do you deal with sanitation laws? how do you research the household food preferences and allergies?). Others of you are pointing to existing programs that do something just like this (Meals on Wheels, meal programs for persons with AIDS, volunteer programs through churches and community organizations), albeit on a strict schedule and without the surprise element. Still others are reminding me that, back when people really knew their neighbors, these are just the sorts of things they would do for each other as a matter of course. Yes, yes, of course. But this is a dream job. It’s not a business plan, or an exercise in nostalgia, or even a look at the infrastructure of contemporary volunteer organizations. It’s pure fantasy.

It’s the sort of dream job you concoct, after someone you barely know undergoes major surgery. You actually get it together to cook a meal–a real meal, with more than one part, and with homemade dessert, even. You show up at their house (a bit anxious;  you don’t know really know these people, after all), knock on their door, and recite your script (“I made dinner”).

“You made dinner?” the person who answered the door says, the way they might have said “the tumor disappeared?” or “she really did love me after all?” or “the mortgage was paid off????”

You turn and leave.

Is that a great job, or what?



  1. Joe Lencioni says:

    I like it. It reminds me of a dream job that a friend and I concocted one summer on a road trip around Minnesota and North Dakota.

    Here’s the plan: we get a grant to drive around in a miracle van, helping unexpecting people we find along the way. We put a phone number on the side of the van so people can call in their miracles.

    We came up with it when we helped some guy who ran out of gas and thought it would be great to do stuff like that all the time.

  2. Lisa Heldke says:

    There’s no doubt an entire industry of such jobs, isn’t there?

    Now, about that grant….

  3. Maria Jeremiason says:

    If I can’t be a food critic, my runner up dream job is “baby rocker”. I just want to rock the babies. I don’t want to take them home, I don’t need to feed them and don’t want to change any diapers. Let me rock them peacefully to sleep, sniff their baby skin, tuck them snugly into bed and go on to the next one.

    I wouldn’t mind being your assistant “home cooked meal, Ninja”, either. That’s good stuff.

  4. BJ Heldke says:

    There’s one of those 4X5 gift books in this……”50 dream jobs dreamed up by philosophical dreamers” or something like that…..kind of late for this Xmas, but you can dream, can’t you?