CEO goes viral on LinkedIn after crying selfie

'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'

CEO goes viral on LinkedIn after crying selfie

The chief executive officer (CEO) of Ohio-based HyperSocial, Braden Wallake, has gone viral when he posted an image of himself while in tears on LinkedIn.

The reason for his tears: laying off employees.

"This will be the most vulnerable thing I'll ever share. I've gone back and forth whether to post this or not," said Wallake on the photo's caption. "We just had to lay off a few of our employees. I've seen a lot of layoffs over the last few weeks on LinkedIn. Most of those are due to the economy, or whatever other reason. Ours? My fault."

According to the CEO, laying off employees was the "toughest thing" he's ever had to do, without explaining how many and why he laid off staff.

"I've always hire people based on who they are as people. People with great hearts, and great souls. And I can't think of a lower moment than this," he said.

He added that his intention on posting the photo was to show that even CEOs are affected when they have to let go their staff.

"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," he said. "I'm sure there are hundreds and thousands of others like me. The ones you don't see talked about. Because they didn't lay off 50 or 500 or 5000 employees."

His photo has made rounds on the employment-oriented platform, garnering over 35,000 reactions, 7,300 comments, and 660 shares.

Backlash and support

Response to the post was varied with some calling out Wallake and others expressing support.

One user replied on the post calling the CEO "out of touch" because of it.

"How about using your network to help those employees find new jobs by tagging them and putting them in the spotlight, as opposed to whining about making difficult decisions as a leader and posting a crying selfie? This is one of the most out of touch posts I've seen in a long time," read the reply.

"I signed onto this platform to see if this was real or not. I sincerely hope it's a joke because this is the most cringeworthy thing I've seen on here. And that's saying a lot. Shame on you either way. Do better," another said.

Read more: LinkedIn updates list of job titles for 'stay-at-home' parents

But others were more sympathetic towards the CEO.

"So people can't be human anymore? Making the decision to lay off isn't easy. I was just impacted by a layoff and while I've gone through several emotions, including anger, I have compassion for the folks who had to make the tough decision. Everyone loses when it comes to layoffs. Remember that we're human first. Have some grace. It could be you making this tough decision one day," said one user.

"I think people want to assume this is disingenuous because they themselves wouldn't care. This is how I'd feel. I believe it," another said.

'I am sorry'

Following his sudden internet fame and the backlash that came with it, Wallake issued an apology on LinkedIn

"Yes, I am the crying CEO. No, my intent was not to make it about me or victimize myself. I am sorry it came across that way," he said.

On another post, he shared the profile of one of his laid off workers where he showered him with praises and recommended him for employment.

He also started a LinkedIn thread where people could seek new jobs and employers can connect with these potential employees.

"Employers: here's an opportunity to hire amazing people," he said on the post.

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