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Who Makes What – Salaries List
Some people rake it in. Others eke by. And lots of people fall somewhere in between. Presenting a peek inside the paychecks of more than 250 Chicagoans, from athlete to Zen Buddhist priest, exterminator to lifesaver, fat cat to publicity hound. And, of course: Oprah
Edited by Jennifer Wehunt
Ask someone about his job, and you re likely to get an earful. But ask him about his salary, and he ll probably clam up faster than Jeremy Piven sidestepping questions about his recent flap with his pal John Cusack. (Piven wouldn t tell us what he makes, either.) Still, we did find plenty of other Chicagoans willing to fess up when we asked them about their pay.
Among our findings were some eyebrow-raising couplings: A West Town bartender made more dough than an up-and-coming Bucktown restaurant owner. One hairdresser came up significantly short compared with a local dog groomer. The former head of the Greater Chicago Food Deposi-tory edged out Mayor Daley. And apparently the glass ceiling transcends technicalities: a well-known female impersonator earned way less than a male adult-film actor. Then there was the completely predictable: once again, no one raked in more than Oprah.
In assembling this report, we conducted personal interviews, tracked down public records, and pored over published articles (we cite the articles). Some sources requested anonymity, but every entry in this survey denotes an actual person, and all figures represent 2006 pay unless otherwise noted. For those who keep nontraditional work schedules, such as a freelance puppet builder and a romance novelist, we asked for explanations of how they calculate their income. And some on this list who eke out a pittance think musicians and artists may have other ways of making ends meet beyond what we include. Others may not.
Oh, and though we were snubbed by Piven, we did turn up his mother s pay stub. Find it, and the wages of more than 250 other Chicagoans and suburbanites, in our salary survey.