push paper(s)

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push paper(s)

To do paperwork for the administrative side of some business or organization, especially paperwork that is or feels petty, uninteresting, or unimportant. Usually used in the continuous tense. I spent the summer inside pushing paper for my father's construction company to help pay for college. After five years of pushing papers nine to five, seven days a week, I finally decided to quit and pursue my dream of teaching English in Japan.
See also: push
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

push paper

Do administrative, often petty, paperwork. For example, She spent the whole day pushing paper for her boss. [Colloquial; second half of 1900s]
See also: paper, push
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

push paper

Informal
To have one's time taken up by administrative, often seemingly petty, paperwork: spent the afternoon pushing paper for the boss.
See also: paper, push
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
It's the difference between the hands of a guy who spent 30 years at a desk pushing papers, versus a mechanic.
We can't wait around for the government to continue pushing papers. It's up to us to be the change now."
The time spent pushing papers through approvals, processing transactions, emailing/mailing, printing, copying, filing, and then dividing that by the number of transactions completed in one month/year would give a clear indication of how much it costs per transaction.
The source said: "Harry joined the Army to lead men in battle, not to sit behind a desk pushing papers. But if you want a career in the Army you have to do your stint as a staff officer."
Dusty fans were switched on, blowing a gale on unsuspecting members of staff and pushing papers and post-it notes high into the air in a summer stationery snowstorm.
In fact, pushing papers and shovelling junk food can be pretty bad for your health.
As his busy staff frantically circles him, pushing papers and phones in his direction, the director of the Creative Forum for Independent Theater Groups happily answers questions, breaking his stride only to sign the occasional paper or talk down a handset.
After three years, Doreen was given another posting at an administrative port and ended her war years "pushing papers".
Clearly, the life of the American woman is no utopia--whether we're pushing papers in our offices, or pushing yet another load of dirty underwear into our washing machines at home, all too many of us are overworked, overlooked, underappreciated and underpaid, and we do ourselves a huge disservice by piling more wood onto the working mom vs.
So they'll create a team that lets them focus their efforts on listing and selling real estate, not pushing papers or filing.
They will need much more than a solicitor pushing papers through the system, they need someone who will listen to them and provide them with reassurance and sympathy.
You can hear him still, scribbling in the universities, in high-rise offices, scheming, cajoling, almost making a living - can you see yourself slaving, pushing papers, slumped over a loaf of bread and stack of who knows what - envious and penniless in Topeka, or better yet, Vienna?
My father, eventually, spent most of his long career pushing papers, as did his son, and as do most American workers in this end-of-the-century year.
"Because we're a single-store operation, we're able to get more information directly into the salesperson's hands," says Cabler, who spends 60 percent of his time on the floor working with and listening to customers rather pushing papers in the office.