Debate: Would your bonus pass 'the garden fence test'?

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Ever suspected that you're grossly overpaid for what you do? Resolve the question once and for all by conversing with neighbours over your garden fence.

Alistair Darling (AKA the Chancellor of the Exchequer) recommends the garden fence test for anyone with an inkling they might have been paid an undeservedly big bonus.

Before the latest twist in the Northern Rock saga became an all-engrossing affair, Darling told the Telegraph that, "People get fed up if they see others getting great big bonuses and they can't actually see what they did. It can be extremely frustrating."

He says one way to gauge, and therefore avoid this frustration, is to envisage a chummy conversation with Mr Smith at number 19: "If you're leaning over the fence talking to your next-door neighbour, can you justify what you've done?"

And if Mr Smith doesn't grasp the significance of 12 months spent assembling ill-fated pitchbooks or devising new forms of constant proportion portfolio insurance product? It may just be you're paid too much.

Darling appears to be following his own advice. What with the Northern Rock nationalisation being a tangible thing that any neighbour ought to comprehend, the Telegraph reports that the chief exec and CFO will be paid 90k and 75k per month respectively - more even than John Mack.

So, what did you do to deserve all that cash?

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