a pen pusher

(redirected from a paper pusher)

pen pusher

One who has a boring, meaningless office job. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. Gary was tired of being a pen pusher, so he decided to quit and start his own business.
See also: pen, pusher
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

a pen pusher

mainly BRITISH or

a pencil pusher


a paper pusher

COMMON If you describe someone as a pen pusher or a pencil pusher, you mean that they have a boring office job and do not make any important decisions. People who used to be called administrators, and perhaps seen as just pen pushers, have been transformed into senior managers. Many of the men who now sit on company boards are pencil pushers with qualifications from top schools, but lack experience in business. Note: In both American and British English, you can also call someone a paper pusher. I didn't want to be just another faceless paper pusher. Note: You can refer to office work as pen-pushing, pencil-pushing, or paper-pushing. You can also say that office workers push papers or push pens. I want our police officers freed from paper-pushing. I'm very thankful that I can make a living from my art, rather than working as a waiter or pushing papers eight hours a day.
See also: pen, pusher
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
Mansoor Malik, head of business development MENA, CIPS, added that over the last decade, the institute has seen a transformation [of the job] from being a paper pusher function or a compliance function to one that is performing and at the leading end of the organisation.
Porter made frequent references to the Ford presidency, during which he had served as a paper pusher, as if that were the model that the present administration should emulate.
Even though you know that you don't have any real power, that you are just a paper pusher, that the real power in this administration is closely held by about five or six people at the top, in Washington even the proximity to power is an aphrodisiac.