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Why I Plan On Being A Dishwasher

From former beauty ed to dishwasher? Our blogger lists the practical reasons she fancies doing the latter.

Stylish dishwashing anyone?

As much as I have big dreams and fantasies of being a prolific writer and novelist who works from home—"home" being either a lavish apartment in an NYC high-rise or a cozy, modern home in the Hamptons, a la my "friend" Ina Garten—I still have to make a living to sustain the lifestyle I want.

So when my head isn’t above the clouds, my practical side emerges. I am aware that down the line, I might have to take on a second (or third) job that is non-writing-related. Right now, I’m at a comfortable place in terms of reaping some seeds I’ve planted in New York and working on blogging projects. I keep thinking, though, that if I were to apply for another job, it would be that of a dishwasher in a restaurant.

Shocked? Let me explain.
A few years ago, I was talking to a prolific photographer in Manila who specializes in lifestyle, travel, food, and still-life assignments. If you knew him, you would find his demeanor very mild and steady—making him a joy to work with because not only is he a great photographer equipped with tip-top technical skills, he’s also 100% drama-free.

One time, as he was quietly shooting beauty products in the conference room, somebody (was it me?) asked: “[Name of photographer], how come you like shooting products?” This is in light of several shutterbugs opting to do more location-centric fashion and beauty shoots.

“I like shooting products because they don’t talk,” was his answer. “They’re just there.”

I am guessing he meant this literally: Unlike models, stills didn’t require to be tediously prepped, and one needn’t engage in small talk. I liked this line of reasoning.

In relation to my dishwashing dreams, that is the same logic and point applied to this seemingly silly endeavor of mine.

When I first moved to New York and while waiting for my ‘dream job,’ I worked for three months in a Japanese restaurant as a hostess/maitre ’d, ushering hungry patrons to their tables. If I had better dexterity I probably would’ve also applied as a waitress—servers earn way more than hostesses—but I constantly feared breaking glasses or spilling food on the floor, or worse, on people.

Being in the front lines of the resto scene was okay for those months, but I wouldn’t go back again. Nothing against the job (it kept me afloat back then), but I believe I’ve had my fill of hungry, irate people who needed a table NOW!

I figure, if I were a dishwasher at the very back of the kitchen…

  1. I wouldn’t have to talk to anybody other than my boss, who will just probably ask me about my shift schedule.
  2. I don’t think one would have to deal with office politics in the business of dishwashing. It’s a clearly autonomous job description with simple job requirements.
  3. I wouldn’t have to dress up for work. I can roll out of bed, wear whatever, and be ready in no time.
  4. It’s going to be like a multi-hour facial. Have you seen those industrial-type dishwashing stations? They’re steaming hot! (I’ll just have to make sure to bring a face mask, as I don’t want to inhale all the toxic detergent fumes.)
  5. Most importantly: I’ll still be able to write when I get home. After all, many of my articles have been borne out of times I had been staring out the window, doing the dishes, and tinkering about in the kitchen.
Mariel Chua is the former beauty editor of Cosmopolitan Magazine Philippines. Visit her personal blog at
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