Feeling bad that your long hours, low pay and nonexistent recognition might all be part of an elaborate ploy to motivate you to work harder?
Then you probably don't want to read Vanity Fair's just-launched Windfall Report, which tallies the 50 people who made the most "extras" last year. No, Oprah isn't on it, nor are those hedge fund types with seven-figure salaries. These are people who had "windfalls" due to stock cash-outs, IPOs (initial public offerings) or through selling companies or real estate.
Techies made a good showing on the list, with Oracle's Larry Ellison making $1.1 billion "extra" in 2007, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen gaining $775 million, Google's Eric Schmidt increasing his wealth by an additional $600 million and Salesforce.com's Marc Benioff adding $190 million.
But, as usual, Bill Gates topped the list with $2.8 billion in Microsoft stock sales and dividend pay outs. Perhaps this will make him feel better about being replaced as the world's richest man in Forbes' "The World's Billionaires" list this year by Berkshire Hathaway boss Warren Buffet. Some are casting blame for Gates' fall in the ranks after 13 years in the top spot on Microsoft's unsolicited $44.6 billion bid for Yahoo in January.
"Microsoft shares fell 15% between Jan. 31, the day before the company announced its bid for the search engine giant, and Feb. 11, the day we locked in stock prices for the 2008 World's Billionaires list. More than half of Gates' fortune is held outside of Microsoft shares," explains Forbes.