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A paper shaker is a person who always seems to be busy at work but doesn't get anything done.

Paper shakers will arrive to work early and leave late to create the image that they are always working. Paper shakers exhibit all the worst examples of presenteeism. They will work when sick to make a show of it.

A paper shaker will prescribe more work as the cure for whatever ails any project. This sermonizing will never result in any new actions or change on their part. Paper shakers already see themselves as working harder than everyone else.

Don't confuse a paper shaker with a hustler. A paper shaker may see themselves as a hustler and try to create this impression. They might have a coffee mug or t-shirt that says some catchphrase like "always hustlin'" for example. At heart, they are lazy sycophants.

The term "paper shaker" comes from the idea that they always have some "proof of work" handy. Vampire hunters carried garlic to ward off evil and paper shakers have busy work to ward off actual work.

Dealing with paper shakers from a management perspective is simple. Once identified, check in with them often. Set goals with them and see where they land. Ask them what they are working on and direct them away from their own busy work. This should keep paper shaking to a minimum.
The paper shakers in HR thinks everyone should work 3.5 more hours a week to hit our targets.

Tim is such a paper shaker, what does that guy even do?

Upper management is all paper shakers, they come in early and go home late but have nothing to show for it.
via giphy
by SearchFHG December 21, 2017
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slang term form the 1960s meaning a newsboy because of the way thye thew the papers at the house.
Matt' taking care of his newspaper deliveries.
Geez, he is such a paper shaker!
by lovemeeeeeee September 29, 2009
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