a cog in the machine

a cog in the machine

Someone or something that is functionally necessary but of small significance or importance within a larger operation or organization. I'm tired of working in this thankless IT support job. I don't want to be just a cog in the machine anymore!
See also: cog, machine

a cog in the machine/wheel

one part of a large system or organization He was just a small cog in the large wheel of organised crime. This warehouse is an important cog in our distribution machine.
See also: cog, machine
References in periodicals archive ?
He had a hand in the success, but was no more than a cog in the machine.
The whole installation had an air of corporate condescension about it, pointing to the office worker not just as a cog in the machine but as the emotionally stunted child of the parent company.
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