droid: n.

[from android, SF terminology for a humanoid robot of essentially biological (as opposed to mechanical/electronic) construction] A person (esp. a low-level bureaucrat or service-business employee) exhibiting most of the following characteristics: (a) naive trust in the wisdom of the parent organization or ‘the system’; (b) a blind-faith propensity to believe obvious nonsense emitted by authority figures (or computers!); (c) a rule-governed mentality, one unwilling or unable to look beyond the ‘letter of the law’ in exceptional situations; (d) a paralyzing fear of official reprimand or worse if Procedures are not followed No Matter What; and (e) no interest in doing anything above or beyond the call of a very narrowly-interpreted duty, or in particular in fixing that which is broken; an “It's not my job, man” attitude.

Typical droid positions include supermarket checkout assistant and bank clerk; the syndrome is also endemic in low-level government employees. The implication is that the rules and official procedures constitute software that the droid is executing; problems arise when the software has not been properly debugged. The term droid mentality is also used to describe the mindset behind this behavior. Compare suit, marketroid; see -oid.

In England there is equivalent mainstream slang; a ‘jobsworth’ is an obstructive, rule-following bureaucrat, often of the uniformed or suited variety. Named for the habit of denying a reasonable request by sucking his teeth and saying “Oh no, guv, sorry I can't help you: that's more than my job's worth”.

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