The Happy Centrelink Officer Index

I’ve thought of a new economic index – measure the job satisfaction of people working at Centrelink. It should be negatively correlated to the overall economy.

When times are good, most people out of work have genuine problems. I met some of them today. Like the guy standing next to me in the queue who had just been released from prison (literally!) and had forgotten the note from his psychiatrist allowing  him to seek work in an office. (This made him VERY angry!) Or the guy who had clearly knocked off a couple of bottles of scotch before 11:00am, and was happily whistling, filling the air with fragrance. The poor Centrelink officers were copping all sorts of abuse from all sorts of people. I eventually got to see a nice lady with a haunted look, and when I offered her a word of encouragement, she gave me a look that said “Rescue Me!”, and asked if I wanted to work there instead.

In contrast, when times are bad, nicer people start to turn up at Centrelink offices. They might be more understanding, not get so frustrated by bits of paper, and generally make life a little easier for the public servants.

So if you see a Centrelink officer leaping out of a tall building, then that’s a good thing for the economy. And there’s nothing worse for country than if a Centrelink Officer goes home with a smile on her face.

(This is why they call economics “The Dismal Science”.)

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4 Responses to “The Happy Centrelink Officer Index”

  1. Robin Says:

    Would only really work to measure the Australian economy. Remember, “unemployment” and something like Centrelink doesn’t really exist in the States … so at least the people working at Centrelink have jobs and at least the people going in to Centrelink (not all of whom, btw are as colorful I’m sure as the characters you pointed out) are going to be able to receive services that they need for themselves and their families.

    • durand26 Says:

      Fair enough. To be a proper economic index, you’ve got to be able to use it to compare economies, as you mentioned to me yesterday. So you couldn’t use it to compare Australia to the US as they don’t have Centrelink offices.

  2. fourpasttenpm Says:

    OK, well what about debt collectors as an internationally comparable equivalent.
    Crap economy = plenty of work.
    Stronger economy = fewer defaulted loans = less work.
    In which case, all the debt collectors out there must go into, i dunno… blogging?

    • durand26 Says:

      Deb, that made me actually laugh out loud!
      But you’re right. My friend is an insolvency lawyer. She says the best part about her work is the one-upmanship she can finally have over her M&A lawyer colleagues who turned up their noses to her all through the boom.

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