Before And After Shots: The World Leaders Edition

We need to talk about the 'top job effect' and why Aussie leaders don't to seem bear the brunt.

Politics is often a thankless job, and there are few gigs that are tougher than running a nation.

At home and across the globe, political leaders are consistently plagued by bad polls, social media backlash, tongue-in-cheek gaffs and sometimes direct abuse on the streets.

When they step down from the all-consuming role -- well, it often shows. On their face. And hair. And general demeanor.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama summarised two terms as the leader of the free world with a literal mic drop at the end of his final White House correspondents' dinner in May 2016.

Keen political observers noticed something else -- because the internet does what the internet does. It showed just how much he'd aged since he first took office.

Before and after shots are no longer reserved for Hollywood stars who've gained a tonne of weight.  Below you'll see the iconic image of Obama at his first State of the Union address, next to that is his final day in office, eight years later.

Obama was fresh-faced when he first took office.

So how does Obama stack up against other prominent world leaders?

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been leading the country for more than eight years, but it's not yet clear whether he has cracked a smile.  Although he's perfected the steely stare and has frown lines to show for it.

Image: Getty Images

After eight years as the leader of the free world, George Bush looked like he  was pretty damn ready to call it a day.

Image: Getty Images

Former British PM Tony Blair looked relaxed and relatable when he was first sworn in. A decade later, the years of hard work started to show.

Image: Getty Images

Of course our local pollies have their own before and afters too, but there's one distinct point of difference. At first, we couldn't quite place our finger on why they looked comparably refreshed.

Let's take a look shall we?

Kevin Rudd
Image: Getty Images
Julia Gillard
Image: Getty Images
Tony Abbott
Image: Getty Images
Malcolm Turnbull
Image: Getty Images

So what sets our PMs apart from the rest of the world? Why do they seem fresh-faced, even jovial at times?

Well, we we did the math.

After swearing in our seventh leader in just 11 years, and going through our 83438434th leadership spill  (or at least that's what it felt like) -- we can confirm they just don't work as hard. Or more precisely, for as long.

Since John Howard last carried out a full term in office (until 2007) , our PMs have spent an average of TWO years leading the nation.

The nation is then forced to endure days (if not weeks) of political backstabbing and Mean Girls-style shifting alliances.

Australians are tired, Australians are weathered. We are arguably bearing the brunt of this musical chairs style leadership, far more than our politicians are.

Now pass me some eye cream.