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Thread: office plankton

  1. #1
    Властелин
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    office plankton

    We in Russia have a popular expression now which literally means 'office plankton' (офисный планктон), i.e. white collar personnel doing some easy secretarial and paper work, drinking coffee more than working, etc.

    What would be the English equivalent for that? How do you call them in your country?

  2. #2
    Завсегдатай sperk's Avatar
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    I can think of a "cushy job" but that basically implies a well paid management level job with little work or responsibility.
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

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    Завсегдатай Crocodile's Avatar
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    I'm also interested in finding an English equivalent. The word "plankton" is used to denote the entry-level office job holders who are at the very bottom of the office 'food chain'.

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    Завсегдатай rockzmom's Avatar
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    Croc, thanks for explaining that as I could not make the jump to light speed on that one. The only thing I can think of is like a "gopher" but that is more of a person who goes and gets things and then waits around for another task. However, they can be very busy with everyone asking them to do things for them... but they are the bottom of the food chain.
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  5. #5
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    Peeon - bottom of the food chain

    Smithers from the Simpsons quotes from Smithers ... - Actuarial Outpost

    Scott

  6. #6
    Завсегдатай Crocodile's Avatar
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    I prefer a "gopher" version.

  7. #7
    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
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    I can think of two English expressions: "dead wood" and "clock watchers."

    In general, "dead wood" is more often used for people who have reached a level that makes it difficult to fire them, at which point they choose to become lazy and unproductive. You wouldn't normally say it about an entry-level employee, however, because generally it's easy to fire such people if they're unproductive.

    "Clock watcher" is self-explanatory, I think, and can be used for a person of any level whose job is (seemingly) to sit and drink coffee.

    Also, Mr. Burns on The Simpsons used the self-explanatory expression "chair-warmer" to describe Homer's job.

    And then there's "Bubble" from Absolutely Fabulous, whose job was "dunno... git paid."

    I really love the expression офисный планктон. Does this possibly have some connection with the meme "йа -- краведко"?
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    Почтенный гражданин capecoddah's Avatar
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    "Slacker" = Doesn't do much but reaps benefits.
    "Bottom Feeder" Like a fish: eats scraps that fall to the bottom but still sustains it's self.
    Not to be confused with "Bottom Dweller" = Doesn't have the skills to rise above his position.

    Others I can't think of off the top of my head.
    I'm easily amused late at night...

  9. #9
    zxc
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    Some alternatives:

    Office Monkeys
    Paper pushers
    Dilberts
    Desk jockeys
    Office drones
    Cube dwellers

    Many of these are critical of white collar workers in general, but they'd all get the point across in context, I would think.
    Crocodile likes this.

  10. #10
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    That's great.

    Chair-warmer is virtually the same as Russian "протиратель штанов" - (literally, workers who only sit at their desks and their pants wear off, or used as a verb "протирает штаны"...)
    Paper pusher seems to me close to Russian "канцелярская крыса", or "конторская крыса" (lit., office rat), which has a rather negative meaning in Russian, eg it can be used emphatically: "Ты, крыса канцелярская!" (meaning 'you are a bloody bureaucrat and paper pusher!')
    Bottom feeder is also great, perhaps it can be used in some instances in office environment.

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