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Pencil Pusher

Pencil Pusher English, baby! Video Lesson

Date: Jun 01 2010

Themes: Soap Opera, Work

Grammar: Used to Do vs Be Used to


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Dale used to be a police officer. He decided to get a calmer, safer job. Now he works from a desk. Working a desk job seems like the most harmless thing in the world. But Dale is having some problems with the life of a pencil pusher.

A pencil pusher (also sometimes called a paper pusher) is a person who works in an office and doesn’t do anything very exciting. It’s not really a compliment to call someone a pencil pusher, but it’s certainly not a terrible thing to be. That is, unless you’re Dale.

Watch as Dale discusses his concerns about working a desk job with Mason, the office janitor.

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1. Listen and Read - Listen to the audio and read the dialog at the same time.

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2. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.







Mason:  Hey, Dale!

Dale:  Hey! Oh, wow! Are you having the same problem I am?

Mason:  Problem?

Dale:  Ever since I became a pencil pusher I’ve been stuck at this desk all day, and I swear it’s killing my body.

Mason:  Killing you! Hold on, buddy, let me check out this desk for you.

Dale:  Yeah, check it out, I think it’s the desk.

Mason:  Well, the desk seems to be in order. Hold on, hold on, let me check out this chair for you. Why don’t you…

Dale:  Ah!

Mason:  Try mopping! Mopping is great for your health, man! Why don’t you give that a try? Sweep up a little bit! There’s a spot over there that you missed.

Dale:  Why don’t you do a couple of reports there for me? This is feeling great.

Mason:  Hold on, I’m getting a crick over here! I think there’s something wrong with this pencil pushing thing! I need to be broom pushing! You sit down there and deal with your back problem. I’ve got floors to clean, man, floors to clean.

Dale:  I used to be in great shape, now I’m just a pencil pusher! Jason, are you busy?

Jason:  Well, I’m not terribly busy.

Dale:  Oh, good! Can you just do a report for me?

Jason:  You want me to do it for you?

Dale:  Yeah, well, you don’t really have to do it, you just have to type it. Because, look, I’m really not in good shape anymore, I have this carpal tunnel, it’s killing me. This desk job is killing me.

Jason:  I think you can type it, Dale. I think you’re being a bit of a hypochondriac. Maybe you miss your old job and how exciting it was. Just having a hard time being a pencil pusher?

Dale:  Come on, man, just type the report for me! Just type it! I’m- I’m cured! I’m absolutely cured!

Jason:  What do you know!


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Dale is uncomfortable in his desk chair. Mason offers to take a break from cleaning and trade places with him for a moment. As he mops the floor, Dale’s back feels batter. But Mason is quickly uncomfortable at the desk chair too and makes Dale trade back.

Then Dale turns to Jason and asks him if he can do some work for him because his wrists hurt. Jason tells Dale that there’s nothing wrong with him. He believes Dale is a hypochondriac, or someone who believes he has health problems he doesn’t have, so he throws a ball at Dale. Dale is surprised by the ball and without thinking reaches up to catch it. Looks like his wrists aren’t doing so badly after all!

Do you prefer to work at a desk and be a pencil pusher, or do you like physical labor?



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I perfer to work at a desk,But It’s would be nice and very convenient if we can do those paper works at home.

09:49 AM Dec 14 2013 |




Anja , you are depriving your daughters of the pleasure of  making the bed, you are a loving mother  , please  choose another chore to  burn calories.Wink  

07:12 PM Mar 28 2012 |

1 person likes this



become pencil pusher

04:37 AM Sep 29 2011 |




Oh no doubt I'm not a pencil pusher and I'm not good to stay behind a desk! no way! hehe

I'm a workout teacher and I work in a gym so my job is pretty active because I'm stand up all day long ;) So like Dale and Mason I have some aches in the end of the day kind my feet kill me :P

01:16 PM Jul 10 2010 |

rebel lee

rebel lee


You don't need to be pencil pusher even you work at a desk.Physical labors are not as good as office workers.

09:22 AM Jun 26 2010 |


El Salvador

a pencil pusher or a paper pusher… either fits you well when you are unemployed. So, if you are a pencil pusher, just relax and you'll get used to it….. in the long run jejejje

04:02 PM Jun 20 2010 |




why not to be a pencil pusher?! I like it ,too. It's not that bad though. 

to a beautiful hart everythings appears beautiful.(even whith the working stuff.) :)

02:56 PM Jun 06 2010 |




There is nothing awful in desk job. If your workstyle is physical labour you have to go relax sitting from time to time. In this case we have opposite situation so take a walk sometimes across your office). You have choice everytime. Work as you wish)

01:53 PM Jun 05 2010 |


Viet Nam

I'm still going to school, and I haven't choose my career yet. Though I'm not really a active girl but I also don't like sitting all day in a boring room. I prefer outdoor works, something involve with traveling.

12:40 PM Jun 05 2010 |




I like partying and I prefer to enjoy my holidays and weekedns better than any job ever.

12:25 PM Jun 04 2010 |




i prefer a desk job. its fine for me to be a pencil pusher.

12:17 AM Jun 04 2010 |




my shift is to be sit  in front a computer all the day. and some times it gets pencil pusher , but sometimes not. depends the side from u see it. by the other hand everymorning i workout to be in a good shape bcs i have a sedentary job.


10:52 PM Jun 01 2010 |




my shift is sit in front a computer all the day. and some times it gets pencil pusher , but sometimes not. depends the side from u see it. by the other hand everymorning i workout to be in a good shape bcs i have a sedentary job.


10:49 PM Jun 01 2010 |




If you earn good than you can stand for it,Right?

09:30 PM Jun 01 2010 |



I like the lesson but didn't want be a pencil pusher

08:16 PM Jun 01 2010 |


Dominican Republic

I have a pencil pusher job to, but as other people said, I like it.

It's hard for you if you were have a physical job and later you have a boring you.


08:11 PM Jun 01 2010 |



Saudi Arabia

I prefer it if it would be a little of both; trading tasks sometimes could be very interesting! but you should be careful not to commit a big mistake ^_*

07:56 PM Jun 01 2010 |





I know that Daria…

:)    you're the best who I know…  :)

07:32 PM Jun 01 2010 |

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