The CEO of an online marketing firm received backlash for sharing a crying picture of himself on LinkedIn following employee layoffs.
Braden Wallake, CEO of HyperSocial, posted the image while announcing the layoff of employees in a long post. The post has since garnered nearly 10,000 comments and more than 52,000 reactions.
“This will be the most vulnerable thing I’ll ever share,” Wallake wrote in his LinkedIn post. “I’ve gone back and forth whether to post this or not. We just had to lay off a few of our employees.”
Wallake acknowledged that the dismissals were part of a decision he made in February but has not yet explained what it is. He also said he “stuck with that decision for far too long”.
The CEO took full responsibility for firing his employees, describing it as one of the toughest things he’s ever had to do. He added that he loved his employees and wished he was only a money-driven business owner who didn’t care about others.
However, some LinkedIn users disapproved of his post and lambasted him for being “out of touch”. Many of them thought the CEO should have focused more on the laid-off employees rather than how the situation affected his feelings.
One user wrote that the CEO’s post was self-serving and tone-deaf, while another wrote that the CEO should cut his salary if he cared about his employees.
Wallake followed up in a post, saying he did not mean to make it about himself. He apologised and said his intention was not to victimise himself.
He also admitted that he may have taken the post too far, saying it was not his place to publicly out the employees’ names. He adds that what he wants to do now is try to improve what happened and create a thread for people looking for work.
While the post garnered many criticisms, others have shown their support for the CEO. The CEO received praise for his authenticity from other LinkedIn users, including his former employee, Noah Smith.
Smith defended his boss, saying he would only be interested in working for managers with a positive outlook in life like his old boss.