[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dontpay_4525.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Thinking can be hazardous to your paycheck.]]

->'''R. J. Fletcher:''' You idiot! Can't you do anything right? [[FelonyMisdemeanor Does this look like a number two pencil to you?]]\\
'''Richard Fletcher:''' No, I just thought...\\
'''R. J. Fletcher:''' You '''''thought?!''''' I don't pay you to think!\\
'''Richard Fletcher:''' But daaaaaad!\\
'''R. J. Fletcher:''' SHUT UP!
-->-- ''Film/{{UHF}}'', as it establishes who the villain is and [[{{Jerkass}} just how evil he is]]. He gets eviller.

A StockPhrase that indicates that an employee wasn't hired for their brains.

Sometimes, it's important to think on your feet. A mind is a terrible thing to waste and a little brains can take you a long way. But people in authority sometimes fear those with a brain in their head. After all, someone who thinks is someone who may start to question authority, ''their'' authority. The basic idea is that someone in a lowly position gets a bright idea, but is told that either they're not paid to think, or that it's not their job to think, or some other form of that. Might be a low-level employee in a company, or it could be something like a minion to the BigBad.

To some degree, TruthInTelevision; many large organizations, such as the military, depend on everyone sticking to the same plan, and it isn't always reasonable to convince or fully explain it to each and every person involved, so acting on individual decision-making instead of instructions can undermine your organization's larger goals. A soldier who thinks too much and doesn't obey orders is therefore considered a liability.

In the end, however, bosses who hold to this philosophy only have themselves to blame when they find themselves SurroundedByIdiots. If this is common in your work place, it's one of the sure signs your boss is unfit for the job.

If the boss or BigBad is seriously annoyed by this thinking behavior, he may demote said employee/minion to an ''even lowlier'' position, fire them ([[YouHaveFailedMe sometimes literally]]), or tell them YouGetMeCoffee.

See also, DontThinkFeel.

----
!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime]]
* Inverted in an episode of the English dub of ''Anime/YuGiOh5Ds'', when Divine tells his CaptainObvious lackey as they're observing Aki, "I don't pay you to tell me what I know -- she needs fixing!"
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comics]]
* One standalone strip in ''Webcomic/{{Fluble}}'' rides this for all its worth, with Clown's boss saying no less than three variations of it:
-->"Dammit Coinean, I don't pay you to ask relevant questions! I pay you to shred Arruda files!"\\\
"Dammit Coinean, I don't pay you to point out my obvious stupidity! I pay you to make Arruda files!"\\\
"Dammit Coinean, I don't pay you to shred Arruda files! I pay you to shred Arruda files!"
* A single panel strip from ''StickyComics'' features a boss saying this line and nothing else to a corporate scientist.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In the original ''Disney/OneHundredAndOneDalmatians'', Horace comments "I've been thinking," and Jasper grabs him by the shirt and tells him that he's warned him about thinking. "I've got the knob for this job, so let's get on with it."
* In ''RockAndRule'', Mok comes up with this gem when his talking-head minions actually dare to voice their doubts about his plan:
--> "When I want your opinions, I'll ''give'' them to you!"
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtlesIII'', Whit says "I think she's telling the truth" to which Walker replies "Really? Well, I don't pay you to think, do I? I pay you to lie, cheat, and steal."
* In the film ''Dark Blue'', Jack Van Meter tells Sgt. Eldon Perry Jr. "Your job is not to think. It is to follow orders, to execute plans and to be a good soldier."
* ''Film/TheWorldIsNotEnough'':
-->'''R:''' ''(after botching a BondOneLiner and being called on it by Q)'' I ''think''--\\
'''Q:''' You're not here to think, you're here to do what I tell you!
* Vizzini to Fezzik in ''Film/ThePrincessBride'': "Am I going mad, or did the word 'think' just escape your lips? You were not hired for your brains, you hippapotamic land mass!"
* In ''Film/{{Tron}}'', Sark tells an underling, "Don't think anymore. I do the thinking around here."
* ''Film/TotalRecall1990'' (1990). Cohaagen is berating his subordinate Richter.
-->'''Cohaagen:''' First you try and kill Quaid, and then you let him get away!\\
'''Richter:''' He had help from our side, sir.\\
'''Cohaagen:''' I know that.\\
'''Richter:''' But I thought...\\
'''Cohaagen:''' Who told you to think? I don't give you enough information to think. You do what you're told. That's what ''you'' do.
* Agent Smecker gets a few of these in ''Film/TheBoondockSaints'', including one along the lines of, "Greenly, the day I want the Boston Police to do my thinking for me, I will have a fucking tag on my toe!" Though in Smecker's case, it's more of looking down on their investigative capacity than "hiring them for their brains."
* ''Film/ThingsToCome'' actually has this line used in a RousingSpeech given by The Chief, a local tinpot dictator, to the men who've tried to provide him with an air force (a few decrepit biplanes) capable of taking on John Cabal's huge flying wings.
-->"You are not mechanics, but warriors. You have been trained not to think, but to die. I salute you! I, your Chief!"
* The villain of ''Film/KissOfTheDragon'' executes one of his own men for this reason.
-->[Richard and his men have chased Liu inside the supply room]
-->'''Richard:''' Check the vent!
-->'''Thug:''' I think...
-->'''Richard:''' [shoots him] Don't think!
* Weird Al's ''Film/{{UHF}}'' has R. J. Fletcher, the CorruptCorporateExecutive who is so evil he does this to his own son.
* ''Film/{{Ghostbusters}}'': Walter Peck says this to an electrical-worker. "I'm not interested in your ''opinion''; just shut it off!"
* In ''Film/SwimmingWithSharks'', Buddy Ackerman has a lot of this, at any of his employees.
* In ''Film/{{Snatch}}'', [[LondonGangster Brick Top]] doesn't like his [[TheDragon Dragon]] Errol to do any thinking.
--> '''Brick Top:''' He's been quite a busy little bastard, that [[Creator/JasonStatham Turkish]].
--> '''Errol:''' I think you've let him get away with enough, Guv'nor.
--> '''Brick Top:''' It'll get you in a lot of trouble thinking, Errol. I wouldn't do too much of it.
--> (''later'')
--> '''Brick Top:''' What do you think, Errol?
--> '''Errol:''' I think we should drip dry 'em, Guv'nor. While we've got the chance.
--> '''Brick Top:''' (''exasperated'') It was a rhetorical question, Errol. What have I told you about thinking?
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* In ''The Invisible Heart: An Economic Romance'', a boss tells an employee "I really don't care what you think. I don't pay you to think. I especially don't pay you to think about corporate strategy. I pay you to run the research department and run it well."
* In ''Prison Romance'', this occurs with a ho who is told "I don't pay you to think, I don't pay you to talk..."
* In ''Literature/AtlasShrugged'', Directive 10-289, the "moratorium on brains," chains all existing employees to their jobs, with a potential penalty of jail for any that quit. If any do quit, anyway (or lose their job for other reasons), that job is then assigned to someone else by a government committee, regardless of that person's ability to actually do the job.
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}''
** Dr. Cruces gets Lord Downey both coming and going in ''Discworld/MenAtArms''.
--->'''Downey:''' Doctor, I think--\\
'''Cruces:''' Think? You're not paid to think! Heaven knows where the idiot has got to. I ordered the Guild searched! Why didn't anyone force the door?\\
'''Downey:''' Sorry, doctor, Edward left us weeks ago and I didn't think--\\
'''Cruces:''' You didn't ''think''? What are you paid for?
** In ''Discworld/UnseenAcademicals'', Smeems tells Mr Nutt he's not paid to think. Nutt responds with a bland "Shall endevour not to do so, sir", but when Smeems asks him to work out how to [[ItMakesSenseInContext get him down from the Emperor Candle]], Nutt can't resist replying "I thought I wasn't paid to think, sir."
** In one of ''Discworld/TheScienceOfDiscworld'' books, Ridcully asks Ponder if he's being paid to think. Ponder calmly replies that yes, he is.
* Similarly in ''Literature/{{Friday}}'' by Creator/RobertAHeinlein. The Chief of the [[DividedStatesOfAmerica California Confederacy]] tells one of his minions that HE does the thinking, then moments later chews the minion out for not getting Friday a chair, saying: "Do I have to think of everything myself?"
* This is the attitude of many of the vermin commanders in the ''Literature/{{Redwall}}'' series of books.
-->'''Tsarmina''': Thought?! Who gave you permission to think?
** This actually gets one of the villain underlings killed in ''Mossflower''. Sent out to trail Tsarmina, he comes back to one of her commanders and says that he thought he'd better come back and report. At first, he is praised, but then another commander asks "Who told you that you had permission to think?" and tells him go to right back out and find Tsarmina. He does so, and ends up getting killed by Tsarmina, who in a haze of crazed revenge believes him to be her traitor brother Gingivere.
* Used in the 1960s children's adventure novel ''Manxmouse'', by Paul Gallico. A group of hounds is hunting for a fox and a young Private states "I think he's in there, under that hedge, sir." A General replies "Quiet! I'm the one here who's paid to think."
* Tiny, the DumbMuscle German soldier from the SvenHassel novels, is always saying that he was told by his superiors not to think. "Leave it to the horses, they've got bigger heads."
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In the episode "Bar Association" on ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', Quark tells Leeta "I don't pay you to think. I pay you to spin the Dabo wheel."
* From "LGB Tease," on ''Series/TheLWord'':
-->'''Jenny:''' ''(regarding her dog)'' What's this on his head? This is Mauve. This is not orange.\\
'''Marissa:''' Well, the groomer ran out of orange, so we thought we would...\\
'''Jenny:''' No. No, no. I don't pay you to think. ''(to the dog)'' Do I, Sounder? Do I pay her to think? ''(to Marissa)'' He hates you. So take him back to the groomers now and get orange ribbons so that he can like you again. That's it.
* In "Smart the Assassin" from ''Series/GetSmart'', Devonshire tells someone "KAOS doesn't pay you to think, you men were sent here to obey."
* This is inverted on ''Series/{{Newsradio}}'' in a episode. Dave brings a problem to Jimmy and Jimmy points out Dave was hired to worry about these problems so Jimmy doesn't have to deal with them.
* ''Series/WarOfTheWorlds''. The alien mooks have contacted their ruling trio for instructions.
-->"Why can't these lower creatures think for themselves?"
-->"OUR job is to think! THEIR'S is to obey, and we must never confuse the two!"
* Occurs on ''Series/DoctorWho'' many times. One of the earliest is in "Day of the Daleks," where the malevolent pepperpots tell the [[TheQuisling Controller]] that "the purpose of the human is to obey."
** Prof. Kerensky espouses the inverse of the trope in "City of Death:"
--> "I do my work...I don't ask too many questions."
--> '''Doctor:''' Professor...a scientist's ''job'' is to ask questions.
** Mr. Diagoras says this to the construction workers in "Daleks in Manhattan."
* In the ''OnlyFoolsAndHorses'' episode "To Hull and Back", DirtyCop DCI Hoskins says this several times to his [[ServileSnarker subordinate and drive PC Hoskins]]. This ends up backfiring horribly on him, when it turns out the Met are onto his corrupt practices and Hoskins drives him into a police sting.
-->'''Slater''' :Look Hoskins, Terrance, use your loaf, help me out of this and I'll make you a rich man - the money from them other diamonds is in a bank account, I'll let you have half. What do you think?
-->'''Hoskins''' (*turns, revealing hidden microphone on his lapel): [[TheDogBitesBack You seem to forget sir, I don't think, I only do my job.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Professional Wrestling]]
* [[DwayneJohnson The Rock]] says, "It doesn't matter what you think!"
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Referenced by Lightning in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII''. "'These Cocoon people' have spent centuries under fal'Cie rule, in constant fear of a Pulse invasion. If it weren't for Serah, I'd have been out there too. Hunting l'Cie. Would have been nothing but targets to me."
* Played with an odd way in [[NintendoWars Advance Wars: Days of Ruin]] as it's not an authority saying this but a person speaking of themselves. Gage's quote is actually "They don't pay me to think".
* Said word for word by General Randall in VideoGame/{{Prototype}}. Hilariously, he says it ''to a scientist''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Subverted in a strip of ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', when [[TokenEvilTeammate Belkar]] says this to Vaarsuvius, the party's wizard. V retorts by angrily saying s/he's not paid to do anything but think.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* 'There's Something About Halo 2'
-->'''Master Chief''': Hey, I don't pay you to criticize my chief-y ways!
-->'''Cortana''': You don't pay me at all, I'm a computer...
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In "The Thin White Line" on ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'', Peter tells a rehab counselor "Yeah, well I don't pay you to think, hot lips, in fact, I don't pay you at all... Count it!"
* ''WesternAnimation/QuickDrawMcGraw'': "Hoold on there, Baba Louie! I'll do all the thin'ing around here, and dooon't you forget it!"
* WesternAnimation/InvaderZim to his computer: "I don't pay you to contradict me!"
** Computer: "You don't pay me at all..."
* ''WesternAnimation/TheTransformers'' has an instance of this in "Five Faces of Darkness, Part 3".
-->'''[[TheNameless Sweep 1]]''': "[[OnlySaneMan I think that plasma bath fried Galvatron's circuits.]]"
-->'''Scourge''': "It's not your ''place'' to think! [[MyMasterRightOrWrong Where he leads, all Decepticons must follow]]!"
* In the [[LooneyTunes Speedy Gonzales]] cartoon "Mexicali Shmoes," a fat cat explains how to catch Speedy to his skinny friend.
-->'''Fat Cat:''' You can't catch him weeth the feets. You've got to catch him weeth...er, weeth the brains.
-->'''Skinny Cat:''' Brains? Where do we get thees brains?
-->'''Fat Cat:''' You don't need the brains. ''I'' have the brains.
* In "A Sunny Day in the Void" on ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars'', after one of the droids says that he's been thinking, Colonel Gascon declares that it's his job to think, not the droid's.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* [[http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44732669/ns/business-us_business/t/things-only-bad-managers-say/ This article]] all but advises the reader to quit their job if they have a manager who would say something like this, noting "Life is way too short to spend another minute working for someone who could speak these words."
[[/folder]]

----