pen pusher

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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

AMERICAN or

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
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References in periodicals archive ?
The callous pen-pusher who refuses to sign off this emergency loan - no matter how small that may be - should hang their head in shame.
They'd nothing in common, the bookish former teacher and Weatherfield Gazette columnist and Len Clough's sekkertryturned-Town Hall pen-pusher. She'd light cigarettes to annoy him, evaded all his efforts to persuade her to enjoy the arts.
Perhaps it is Mr Davies who is the modern equivalent of the quill pen-pusher resisting the technology improvements offered by the fountain pen?
It cost a fortune in taxpayers' money to train them as helicopter pilots but they have quit those roles to become more focused on so-called Royal duties and Harry ends up a pen-pusher.
A man with a distinguished World War Two record reduced to begging for extra help, denied to him by a pen-pusher.
Still a one-star council - even after the abolition of an outside performance review - the showdown is also going to need the back-up hire and fire power of town hall chief pen-pusher, Ged 'the flare'' Fitzgerald.
Clarkson''s comments are, in fact, representative of a section of people from his own privileged background, who believe anyone not making piles of money, and who works in the public sector, is a pen-pusher, bureaucrat or useless drudge.
However, it can only make sense to a pen-pusher in a distant ivory tower to divorce Haltwhistle, Allendale and Hexhamshire from the constituency of Hexham and lump them in as a make-weight with Consett and Barnard Castle.
A MASSIVE rise in NHS "pen-pusher culture" has been exposed by new figures showing the number of desk jobs rose 50% over the past decade, Welsh Conservatives claimed yesterday.
The pen-pusher who decided Callum can no longer be treated at the hospital best-placed to care for him should be ashamed.
SOMEWHERE in Birmingham City Council's comfortable offices sits a pen-pusher with a pitiful lack of compassion and a gaping deficit of common sense.
But a Naval source said: "It is well-intentioned but seems to have been dreamed up by some pen-pusher in Whitehall rather than someone who knows how the Navy operates.
Jones would certainly demand the spot because of her ``socialism'' and Hart would retort that as a former full-time union official she knows far more about the conflict between labour and employer than any former pen-pusher could.
But his attack on what he calls the "pen-pusher culture" has drawn stinging criticism from staff organisations which say administrative health workers are essential to keep the health service running.
The brush with potentially lethal gorillas was, he reckons, one of the most exciting and exhilarating moments of his long and distinguished career, and certainly more fun than being a pen-pusher as one of BBC Two's first bosses.