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CEO posts crying selfie to LinkedIn after laying off employees

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WATCH: Anne Gaviola and Brett Chang from Global’s The Peak Daily podcast have more on this viral photo – Aug 14, 2022

A CEO from Columbus, Ohio, is already well on his way to becoming a meme after he shared a photo of himself crying on LinkedIn following the layoff of several employees.

Braden Wallake, the chief executive officer of a marketing agency called HyperSocial, uploaded a post to LinkedIn on Wednesday, outlining his guilt about having to lay off some members of staff. The post finished with a close-up photo of the CEO teary-eyed, covering his mouth with one finger.

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“This will be the most vulnerable thing I’ll ever share,” Wallake wrote in the post’s opening. “We just had to layoff a few of our employees.”

Wallake called the layoffs “the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do.”

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The CEO wrote he’d seen many other companies also dismiss staff over the past few weeks.

He claimed that while many other businesses laid off employees “due to the economy, or whatever other reason,” the layoffs at HyperSocial were his own fault.

HyperSocial CEO, Braden Wallake, crying because of layoffs at his company. LinkedIn/Braden Wallake. LinkedIn/Braden Wallake

“I made a decision in February and stuck with that decision for far too long,” he wrote. “Now, I know my team will say that ‘we made that decision together,’ but I lead us into it.”

It is unclear exactly what the regretful decision was.

Wallake continued, writing that he wished he was a business owner “that was only money driven and didn’t care about who he hurt along the way.”

“But I’m not,” he wrote. “I just want people to see, that not every CEO out there is cold-hearted and doesn’t care when he/she have to lay people off.”

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Wallake compared his employees to members of his family.

“I can’t think of a lower moment than this,” he concluded.

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The post, as of this writing, has been liked over 32,000 times. In the over 6,600 comments, LinkedIn users are divided on whether Wallake’s post is admirable or cringe-riddled for demanding sympathy.

The company, HyperSocial, specializes in LinkedIn marketing and B2B client outreach strategy. Bloomberg reported that the company has 15 employees, two fewer than before the layoffs.

Following mixed reactions to his LinkedIn post, Wallake also made a follow-up statement, in which he identifies himself as the “crying CEO.”

“No, my intent was not to make it about me or victimize myself,” he wrote. “I am sorry it came across that way.”

“I’m not sorry for the post. But I’d at least like to use that post for the benefit of others that may need it,” he wrote, calling for job seekers to include their resume, desired job title and qualifications in the comments of his post.

Still, social media users across all platforms continue to discuss the “crying CEO,” with many claiming Wallake had acted out of selfishness when making the post.

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From April through to June, the U.S. economy shrank for a second straight quarter, contracting at a 0.9 per cent annual pace and raising fears that the nation may be approaching a recession.

According to a new poll, most Canadians already believe the country is in a recession and that prices are going to continue to rise for the foreseeable future. More than 80 per cent of Canadian respondents said they believe prices will keep going up, and 59 per cent say they think Canada is in an economic recession.

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