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* In his ''Manga/ShokugekiNoSoma'' debut, Eishi Tsukasa, current First Seat of [[AbsurdlyPowerfulStudentCouncil the Elite Ten]], starts complaining about the massive amount of paperwork he has to deal with when Soma, Subaru and Takumi decided to hold, not one, but two Shokugekis during the Fall Classic tournament and briefly mopes about how stressful the responsibilities of a first seat can be. Later, [[spoiler:when Azami deposes Sanzaemon as the new director of Tootsuki]], the bureaucratic changes that are taking place in the school increases the amount of paperwork that needs to be done, and most of them were given to Tsukasa.

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* In his ''Manga/ShokugekiNoSoma'' ''Manga/FoodWars'' debut, Eishi Tsukasa, current First Seat of [[AbsurdlyPowerfulStudentCouncil the Elite Ten]], starts complaining about the massive amount of paperwork he has to deal with when Soma, Subaru and Takumi decided to hold, not one, but two Shokugekis during the Fall Classic tournament and briefly mopes about how stressful the responsibilities of a first seat can be. Later, [[spoiler:when Azami deposes Sanzaemon as the new director of Tootsuki]], the bureaucratic changes that are taking place in the school increases the amount of paperwork that needs to be done, and most of them were given to Tsukasa.


And now that you have won the election, here is a pen and a stamp: warm up your arm, 'cause from now on you will use them ''a lot''. Apparently, the main activity of people in charge is to spend their days with a desk and giant piles of papers as their only company. Of course it ''is'' TruthInTelevision to some extent (notably in law-related responsibilities), but naturally, in fiction it tends to be [[UpToEleven exaggerated to the point of torture.]] Expect some secretary to occasionally show up in the office with an additional pile, to the dismay of their boss. Usually PlayedForLaughs to show a less glamourous side of leadership. May be PlayedForDrama if the effect is to make the character [[WantingIsBetterThanHaving wish they'd never sought or accepted the job]] in the first place.

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And now that you have won the election, here is a pen and a stamp: warm up your arm, 'cause from now on you will use them ''a lot''. Apparently, the main activity of people in charge is to spend their days with a desk and giant piles of papers paper as their only company. Of course it ''is'' TruthInTelevision to some extent (notably in law-related responsibilities), but naturally, in fiction it tends to be [[UpToEleven exaggerated to the point of torture.]] Expect some secretary to occasionally show up in the office with an additional pile, to the dismay of their boss. Usually PlayedForLaughs to show a less glamourous side of leadership. May be PlayedForDrama if the effect is to make the character [[WantingIsBetterThanHaving wish they'd never sought or accepted the job]] in the first place.

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* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'': In "Lisa's Substitute," Homer uses this trope to console Bart after he loses the class president election to Martin Prince. Sure, he won, but Martin will wind up doing extra work and won't get to do any cool real-president stuff.


* Creator/IsaacAsimov's ''Literature/FoundationSeries'': In "Literature/TheMule", [[KingBobTheNth Mayor Indbur III]] inherited the post of absolute dictator for the Foundation from his grandfather (who was brutal but able) and father (who was brutal and nothing else) and is essentially a born pencil-pusher who happened to inherit absolute power. He always [[GrammarNazi corrects the grammar and spelling]] of the reports he reads before giving them his stamp of approval. It's evidence of his [[SuperOCD bookkeeper]] personality that he must correct the improper usage of commas before he will place a document in his Out Tray.
* ''Literature/TheBelgariad'': In ''The Malloreon'', Emperor Kal Zakath runs up a tremendous sleep deficit trying to oversee the bureaucracy of an empire larger than the world's other kingdoms combined. He works out how to delegate the duties once Garion points out that they were inherited from the first emperor: an insane PhysicalGod with the divine power to do it all himself.
* ''{{Literature/Discworld}}'':
** Sam Vimes spends a few City Watch books lamenting the piles of paperwork he's obliged to deal with as its Commander. Eventually averted when he recruits some secretarial help, first from the Gooseberry-imp and then from [[BadassBureaucrat A.E. Pessimal.]]
** ''Literature/TheFifthElephant'': Sergeant Colon becomes Acting Captain in Vimes' absence, and his reaction to the paperwork is to just throw it all in the fire. Including the pay dockets. The Watch goes on strike as a result, which actually ''lowers'' crime- criminals know that Mr Vimes will not be happy when he returns, and the last thing they need is draw his attention to them.
** In the Wizard books, Archchancellor Ridcully [[AvertedTrope just lets the paperwork pile up on his desk]], despite being headmaster of what is ostensibly the highest university of learning on the entire Disc. In fact, he periodically bins it, and assumes that if anything is ''really'' important someone will start shouting. Lampshaded in ''Literature/GoingPostal'': "Haven't I always said I wanted a paperless office, Stibbons?" "Yes sir, that's why you throw it out of the window."
** Lord Vetinari, the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork, is usually seen at his desk, looking at some kind of paperwork, especially when he wants to put visitors on edge. Sometimes, it's just the newspaper, but once it was "the report from last night's secret meeting of the Thieves' Guild inner ''inner'' council. Another, he had a certain number of files with just the names sticking out. The names of the citizens he was talking to.
* Creator/OksanaPankeeva: In ''Literature/StrangeKingdomChronicles'', that is King Shellar's primary occupation. According to flashbacks, it used to be borderline torture, even with him only needing two-three hours of sleep a day. When we first meet him, he is actually doing better, having figured out for most part how things work, so that he can have some social life as well.



* Sam Vimes spends a few Literature/{{Discworld}} City Watch books lamenting the piles of paperwork he's obliged to deal with as its Commander. Eventually averted when he recruits some secretarial help, first from the Gooseberry-imp and then from [[BadassBureaucrat A.E. Pessimal.]]
** When Sergeant Colon becomes Acting Captain in Vimes' absence he just throws it all in the fire. Including the pay dockets. The Watch goes on strike as a result, which actually ''lowers'' crime- criminals know that Mr. Vimes will not be happy when he returns, and the last thing they need is draw his attention to them.
** Averted by Archchancellor Ridcully, who just lets the paperwork pile up on his desk, periodically bins it, and assumes that if anything is ''really'' important someone will start shouting soon enough. Lampshaded in ''Literature/GoingPostal'': "Haven't I always said I wanted a paperless office, Stibbons?" "Yes sir, that's why you throw it out of the window."
** Lord Vetinari himself is usually seen at his desk, looking at some kind of paperwork, especially when he wants to put visitors on edge. Sometimes, it's just the newspaper, but once it was "the report from last night's secret meeting of the Thieves' Guild inner ''inner'' council. Another, he had a certain number of files with just the names sticking out. The names of the citizens he was talking to.
* The one dictator in ''Literature/{{Foundation}}'' who inherited the post from his grandfather (who was brutal but able) and father (who was brutal and nothing else) and is essentially a born pencil-pusher who happened to inherit absolute power.
%%* Emperor Gregor in Literature/VorkosiganSaga.
* In ''[[Literature/TheBelgariad The Malloreon]]'', Emperor Kal Zakath runs up a tremendous sleep deficit trying to oversee the bureaucracy of an empire larger than the world's other kingdoms combined. He works out how to delegate the duties once Garion points out that they were inherited from the first emperor: an insane PhysicalGod with the divine power to do it all himself.
* In ''Strange Kingdom Chronicles'' by Oksana Pankeeva, that is King Shellar's primary occupation. According to flashbacks, it used to be borderline torture, even with him only needing two-three hours of sleep a day. When we first meet him, he is actually doing better, having figured out for most part how things work, so that he can have some social life as well.
* In the ''Creator/RobertSilverberg'' series 'Majipoor' the Coronal lives in a splendid palace at the top of a mountain and enjoys all the perks of a King- until he becomes the Pontifex and has to live in a vast underground labyrinth overseeing the planet's bureaucracy.[[/folder]]

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* Sam Vimes spends a few Literature/{{Discworld}} City Watch books lamenting the piles of paperwork he's obliged to deal with as its Commander. Eventually averted when he recruits some secretarial help, first from the Gooseberry-imp and then from [[BadassBureaucrat A.E. Pessimal.]]
** When Sergeant Colon becomes Acting Captain in Vimes' absence he just throws it all in the fire. Including the pay dockets. The Watch goes on strike as a result, which actually ''lowers'' crime- criminals know that Mr. Vimes will not be happy when he returns, and the last thing they need is draw his attention to them.
** Averted by Archchancellor Ridcully, who just lets the paperwork pile up on his desk, periodically bins it, and assumes that if anything is ''really'' important someone will start shouting soon enough. Lampshaded in ''Literature/GoingPostal'': "Haven't I always said I wanted a paperless office, Stibbons?" "Yes sir, that's why you throw it out of the window."
** Lord Vetinari himself is usually seen at his desk, looking at some kind of paperwork, especially when he wants to put visitors on edge. Sometimes, it's just the newspaper, but once it was "the report from last night's secret meeting of the Thieves' Guild inner ''inner'' council. Another, he had a certain number of files with just the names sticking out. The names of the citizens he was talking to.
* The one dictator in ''Literature/{{Foundation}}'' who inherited the post from his grandfather (who was brutal but able) and father (who was brutal and nothing else) and is essentially a born pencil-pusher who happened to inherit absolute power.
%%* Emperor Gregor in Literature/VorkosiganSaga.
* In ''[[Literature/TheBelgariad The Malloreon]]'', Emperor Kal Zakath runs up a tremendous sleep deficit trying to oversee the bureaucracy of an empire larger than the world's other kingdoms combined. He works out how to delegate the duties once Garion points out that they were inherited from the first emperor: an insane PhysicalGod with the divine power to do it all himself.
* In ''Strange Kingdom Chronicles'' by Oksana Pankeeva, that is King Shellar's primary occupation. According to flashbacks, it used to be borderline torture, even with him only needing two-three hours of sleep a day. When we first meet him, he is actually doing better, having figured out for most part how things work, so that he can have some social life as well.
* In the ''Creator/RobertSilverberg'' Creator/RobertSilverberg series 'Majipoor' ''Majipoor'', the Coronal lives in a splendid palace at the top of a mountain and enjoys all the perks of a King- until he becomes the Pontifex and has to live in a vast underground labyrinth overseeing the planet's bureaucracy.bureaucracy.
%%* ''Literature/VorkosiganSaga'': Emperor Gregor
[[/folder]]


* ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor'': In Operation I.T, it is revealed that the job of Supreme Leader is this. When she isn't trying to keep everyone under control, Numbuh 362 is stuck signing paper work, preventing her from going on missions. It's one of the big reasons she wanted to give up the job.

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* ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor'': In Operation "Operation I.T, T", it is revealed that the job of Supreme Leader is this. When she isn't trying to keep everyone under control, Numbuh 362 is stuck signing paper work, preventing her from going on missions. It's one of the big reasons she wanted to give up the job. job.
* ''WesternAnimation/PennZeroPartTimeHero'': In "Defending the Earth", Penn zaps in as the President of an alternate Earth's United States. He immediately decides to have some fun with his position, such as prank calling China, or making homework illegal. Sashi is quick to point out that he can't do any of that, and that his job actually revolves around signing bills from the legistrative branch into law.


* The Hokage is sometimes portrayed like this in ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'', including Tsunade after she assumed the role. They are by definition one of the strongest fighters in their village, but their job is mostly to assign missions rather than go on them.

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* The Hokage is sometimes portrayed like this in ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'', including Tsunade after she assumed the role. They are by definition one of the strongest fighters in their village, but their job is mostly to assign missions rather than go on them. The same goes for Naruto himself as during the ''Manga/{{Boruto}}'' period as he is seen constantly overloaded with piles of papers in his Hokage's office.


** While there are quite a few military personnel whose primary duties involve office work, anyone who stays in long enough will eventually get KickedUpstairs and find more and more of their time spend doing administrative work. Even the grunts in the field.

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** While there are quite a few military personnel whose primary duties involve office work, anyone who stays in long enough will eventually get KickedUpstairs and find more and more of their time spend spent doing administrative work. Even the grunts in the field.

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* ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor'': In Operation I.T, it is revealed that the job of Supreme Leader is this. When she isn't trying to keep everyone under control, Numbuh 362 is stuck signing paper work, preventing her from going on missions. It's one of the big reasons she wanted to give up the job.

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[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Overlord Fox in ''Webcomic/IslaAukate'' frequently finds herself overwhelmed with the deskwork of running her island empire. Her cast page [[https://overlordcomic.com/cast/fox demonstrates]].
[[/folder]]

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* Adolf Hitler expressed his horror at the prospect of being stuck behind a desk signing papers.


* In the ''Creator/RobertSilverberg'' series ''Literature/Majipoor'' the Coronal lives in a splendid palace at the top of a mountain and enjoys all the perks of a King- until he becomes the Pontifex and has to live in a vast underground labyrinth overseeing the planet's bureaucracy.[[/folder]]

to:

* In the ''Creator/RobertSilverberg'' series ''Literature/Majipoor'' 'Majipoor' the Coronal lives in a splendid palace at the top of a mountain and enjoys all the perks of a King- until he becomes the Pontifex and has to live in a vast underground labyrinth overseeing the planet's bureaucracy.[[/folder]]


[[/folder]]

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*In the ''Creator/RobertSilverberg'' series ''Literature/Majipoor'' the Coronal lives in a splendid palace at the top of a mountain and enjoys all the perks of a King- until he becomes the Pontifex and has to live in a vast underground labyrinth overseeing the planet's bureaucracy.[[/folder]]





[[folder:Anime and Manga]]

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[[folder:Anime and & Manga]]



[[folder:Film]]

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[[folder:Film]][[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/AttackOfTheKillerTomatoes'', the President is seen continually signing pieces of paper, each with a different pen. It later gets revealed that he's signing ''blank pieces of paper'', so that it can be claimed that the President had signed something with the pen.



* In ''Film/AttackOfTheKillerTomatoes'', the President is seen continually signing pieces of paper, each with a different pen. It later gets revealed that he's signing ''blank pieces of paper'', so that it can be claimed that the President had signed something with the pen.



* Emperor Gregor in Literature/VorkosiganSaga.

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* %%* Emperor Gregor in Literature/VorkosiganSaga.



* In ''{{Series/NewsRadio}}'', when Lisa is given Dave's job of News Director she has this experience.

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* In ''{{Series/NewsRadio}}'', ''Series/{{NewsRadio}}'', when Lisa is given Dave's job of News Director she has this experience.



[[folder:Theater]]

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[[folder:Theater]][[folder:Theatre]]



* In ''WesternAnimation/RenAndStimpy'', when Ren becomes president of Stimpy's fan club, this is all he does (specifically, answering Stimpy's fan mail), and it leads him to have a mental breakdown.

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* In ''WesternAnimation/RenAndStimpy'', when ''WesternAnimation/RenAndStimpy'':
** When
Ren becomes president of Stimpy's fan club, this is all he does (specifically, answering Stimpy's fan mail), and it leads him to have a mental breakdown.



* In one episode of the eighties ''[[WesternAnimation/{{Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1987}} Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles]]'' cartoon, the turtles find themselves stuck in an alternate world where they never existed and Shredder rules all. After spending the whole episode dodging his henchman and trying to figure out a way back home they finally meet him--and he begs them to take him back with them. Turns out that running the '''entire world''' is a ''massive'' pain in the ass.

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* In one episode of the eighties ''[[WesternAnimation/{{Teenage ''WesternAnimation/{{Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1987}} Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles]]'' Turtles|1987}}'' cartoon, the turtles find themselves stuck in an alternate world where they never existed and Shredder rules all. After spending the whole episode dodging his henchman and trying to figure out a way back home they finally meet him--and him -- and he begs them to take him back with them. Turns out that running the '''entire world''' is a ''massive'' pain in the ass.



** Also delightfully and colorfully known as a R.E.M.F.--Rear Echelon Mother Fucker.

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** Also delightfully and colorfully known as a R.E.M.F.--Rear -- Rear Echelon Mother Fucker.



* Franz Joseph I, second-last emperor of Austria-Hungary. As the story goes, he would sit for many hours at his desk and even correct punctuation mistakes in the papers he worked at. The people nicknamed him "old Prochaska", as if he were a small clerk.
** "Prochazka" (very common as a surname for Czech-speaking people) meant "walker" and he got the nickname after his picture appeared in newspapers walking alone through Prague in 1901. The nickname outlined his modest appearance.
* UsefulNotes/VladimirPutin, then-Prime-Minister of Russia, quipped in September 2009: "Yesterday was the day for signing papers - four suitcases of documents".
** At press conference 14 February 2008 he also said that he worked like a slave at the galleys for straight 8 years. Due to a lucky typo this caused some Memetic Mutations: namely, "like a slave" was mangled into "like a crab" (in Russian: "как раб" vs "как краб"), making "The Crab" a nickname for Putin in certain Internet circles.

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* Franz Joseph I, second-last emperor of Austria-Hungary. As the story goes, he would sit for many hours at his desk and even correct punctuation mistakes in the papers he worked at. The people nicknamed him "old Prochaska", as if he were a small clerk.
**
clerk. "Prochazka" (very common as a surname for Czech-speaking people) meant "walker" and he got the nickname after his picture appeared in newspapers walking alone through Prague in 1901. The nickname outlined his modest appearance.
* UsefulNotes/VladimirPutin, then-Prime-Minister of Russia, quipped in September 2009: "Yesterday was the day for signing papers - -- four suitcases of documents".
**
documents". At press conference 14 February 2008 he also said that he worked like a slave at the galleys for straight 8 years. Due to a lucky typo this caused some Memetic Mutations: namely, "like a slave" was mangled into "like a crab" (in Russian: "как раб" vs "как краб"), making "The Crab" a nickname for Putin in certain Internet circles.





** Averted by Archchancellor Ridcully, who just lets the paperwork pile up on his desk, periodically bins it, and assumes that if anything is ''really'' important someone will start shouting soon enough. Lampshaded in ''Discworld/GoingPostal'': "Haven't I always said I wanted a paperless office, Stibbons?" "Yes sir, that's why you throw it out of the window."

to:

** Averted by Archchancellor Ridcully, who just lets the paperwork pile up on his desk, periodically bins it, and assumes that if anything is ''really'' important someone will start shouting soon enough. Lampshaded in ''Discworld/GoingPostal'': ''Literature/GoingPostal'': "Haven't I always said I wanted a paperless office, Stibbons?" "Yes sir, that's why you throw it out of the window."


Can be the reason for someone being KickedUpstairs. May result in TrashOfTheTitans if disorder comes on top of quantity. Compare VastBureaucracy, BeleagueredBureaucrat, ObstructiveBureaucrat and CorruptBureaucrat. May be a BadassBureaucrat.

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Can be the reason for someone being KickedUpstairs. May result in TrashOfTheTitans if disorder comes on top of quantity. Compare VastBureaucracy, BeleagueredBoss, BeleagueredBureaucrat, ObstructiveBureaucrat and CorruptBureaucrat. May be a BadassBureaucrat.

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