Annoying Employers: Commission-Only Pay, Demands for In-Office Presence and Daily Huddles

Alexei Sorokin
4 min readFeb 23, 2024

I initially named this story “Asshole Employers…” but it wouldn’t be fair to the ones I worked with. After all, they were mostly nice to me. However, some of their approaches to work and management were highly annoying.

Let’s start with the least controversial trait on the list — demanding in-office presence. It’s only in the last three years that remote work has become a norm in many workplaces. Or hybrid, or distributed — most of these formats would have been exotic in previous decades.

But we are where we are. The pandemic acted as an accelerator and even in the absence of it, the current state of technology makes most collaboration between team members seamless, irrespective of location.

If you have a qualified candidate or an existing employee who prefers remote work for whatever reason, why would you insist on in-office work? Several weeks ago I interviewed for an interesting opportunity. At the end of the chat, the recruiter said that the principal demanded office presence. It was a strict requirement. I was immediately put off by this and imagined the guy being a self-important jerk. By the way, I didn’t mind relocating, other things equal. I was even ready to offer it. It’s not that I am strongly against working in the office. It’s when it’s a strict requirement, that I get suspicious — suspicious of my future boss lacking empathy. There could be many reasons why an employee would prefer hybrid or remote work and still be an amazing and highly productive team member.

Now onto the commision-only stuff. I see these posts on LinkedIn all the time. What makes it especially annoying is that there are accompanying attempts to glamorize this success-based compensation. You’re supposedly a very driven go-getter and you get a chance to participate in the future success of the organization. So this no-base arrangement is portrayed as a privilege, not a favor. Raise capital for us and you get to participate in our big bright future.

Fuck off. This immediately demonstrates a total lack of empathy and emotional intelligence. Now, I understand there can different circumstances. For example, in an early-stage start-up, a like-minded team may decide to forgo compensation or there isn’t even a choice — there is no cash so the team unites and works towards a dream, sacrificing short-term income. That’s a totally different situation. Or most…

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Alexei Sorokin

A Russian immigrant in America, father of 4, Cambridge and Harvard Business School alum. I run and write every day. https://runningwritingliving.substack.com/