Learn English with English, baby!

Join for FREE!

Pencil Pusher

Pencil Pusher English, baby! Video Lesson

Date: Jun 01 2010

Themes: Soap Opera, Work

Grammar: Used to Do vs Be Used to


1. Learn Vocabulary - Learn some new vocabulary before you start the lesson.

Go Super to Listen Go Super!

2. Read and Prepare - Read the introduction and prepare to hear the audio.

Go Super to Listen Go Super!

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.

3. Watch - Watch the video without reading the dialog.


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

Log in to Listen

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!


Grammar Point

Go Super to learn "Used to Do vs Be Used to" from this lesson Go Super!


Go Super to take Quiz Go Super!


Lesson MP3

Go Super to download full lesson MP3 Go Super!

Go to the TOEFL® page >


Go Super to Listen Go Super!

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?



Log in to Comment




I am a pencil pusher, or paper pusher..

I think this job a lot of times boring of course…

but it has some advantages that I can mention… :)

in free times, I can chat with friends, do academic works, read some interesting things on internet, listen to music, and other personal things on computer…

I don't think in other works I could do it…


06:04 PM Jun 01 2010 |




It is a good lesson

04:24 PM Jun 01 2010 |



Sri Lanka

I also cant start video but I read diolog.I like to be a pencil pusher.Im new commer to ebaby. How can I learn to speak english from this dialog.Can you help me freinds?

02:26 PM Jun 01 2010 |


antistaticSuper Member!


I cant start the video so I have nothing clever to say :)

12:56 PM Jun 01 2010 |



Serbia and Montenegro

I prefer to work at desk.When I finished my work I am very physically active.I go for a walking, runing,swiming. I have a lot of work at my home.I m always in a motion.I take care of myself,so everything is ok.People only need good organization.

12:15 PM Jun 01 2010 |




yeah desk job can be boring enough to kill someone

11:55 AM Jun 01 2010 |





you are right Sitting All the time on desk is not good for health. we must give some time to after job to go for some exercise. it makes you healthier and fit. I am programmer and i have to sit in front of computer for long. What i do is. I stand up and move around to make my body relax. I remember my first day at office when i sit for eight hours continuously.but latter on i become used to. But i read from somewhere might be from some blog that do not even look at your laptop screen continuously it can be harmful for your eye sight. so it is good to have a round at least once in every 1.5 hour

11:25 AM Jun 01 2010 |




Once I worked at a desk as most people do, but I coouldn't stand it and quitted. On the other hand, I look up to pencil pushers because they can do works I can't do.

11:12 AM Jun 01 2010 |

murad ali

murad ali


The work will be the same in all over  world and we need to change it  from time to time or doing interesting things behind it to make it looks good ..

for me i like do work using mental and physical than just sit  ..

best wish to all 

05:18 AM Jun 01 2010 |




maybe in the future i will work like dale as a pencil pusher!

04:10 AM Jun 01 2010 |



exactly like my last job lol

02:01 AM Jun 01 2010 |




i feel you dale

01:56 AM Jun 01 2010 |

Likes (20):

See all >

Share this lesson:

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Bebo
  • Share on Myspace
  • Share on Twitter
  • Email this to a friend
  • Share on Sina

Post Ebaby! lessons on your blog:

Ebaby! Cast