HyperSocial’s founder and CEO said the purpose of his post was “not to make it up to me or to bully myself.”
A CEO was criticized for a viral post on LinkedIn saying that “not every CEO out there is cold-hearted and doesn’t care if he/she has to fire people,” unspecified in a post about letting go Number of employees who also showed a crying selfie.
That’s all you need to know about the “Crying CEO” on LinkedIn.
Who is the “Crying CEO” – what did he post on LinkedIn?
Braden Wallake is the man behind the viral post on LinkedIn.
Based in Ohio, United States, Wallake is the CEO and Founder of HyperSocial, a marketing company that helps B2B (business-to-business) companies increase brand awareness and develop sales campaigns.
Wallake earned the “crying CEO” label after posting on LinkedIn that he had to lay off some of his employees.
He wrote: “This will be the most vulnerable thing I will ever share. I’ve been debating whether to post this or not. We only had to lay off some of our employees.
“I’ve seen a lot of layoffs on LinkedIn over the past few weeks. Most of these are due to economics or other reasons. Our? My mistake.
“I made a decision in February and stuck with that decision for far too long. Now I know my team will say “we made this decision together,” but I’m leading us there. And because of those mistakes, today I had to do the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.
“We have always been a people-first company. And we always will be. Days like today, I wish I was a business owner who’s just money driven and doesn’t care who I hurt in the process. But I’m not.
“I just want people to see that not every CEO out there is cold-hearted and doesn’t care if he/she has to fire people. I’m sure there are hundreds and thousands of others like me. The ones you haven’t talked about. Because they didn’t lay off 50 or 500 or 5000 employees.
“They fired 1 or 2 or 3. 1 or 2 or 3 who would still be here if better decisions had been made.
“I know it’s unprofessional to tell my co-workers I love them. But with all my heart I hope they know how much I do. Every single one. Every single story. Every single thing that makes her smile and every single thing that makes her cry.
“Their families. Their friends. Their hobbies. I’ve always hired people for who they are as people. People with big hearts and big souls.
“And I can’t think of a lower moment than this.”
Also attached to the post is a picture of a crying Wallake.
How was the response?
Reaction to the post on LinkedIn was mixed, with some praising Wallake for his vulnerability – but comments have called for the CEO to be grossly mishandling things.
One person wrote: “When I see this post – I see a guy who is literally just trying his best. If you’ve ever had to fire someone, that really sucks. This guy cares about his employees – he’s decided to process some of it online. Could he have tagged the employees and said how awesome they are, sure, but did he expect this post to go viral? Probably not.”
Another person said: “Funnily enough I don’t see an apology here, even though you said it was your fault. I think this post is very insensitive because while it is a very difficult thing to fire someone, it is extraordinarily difficult to be the person being fired.
“Be vulnerable, be authentic, but please also think of the audience when posting something like this. If my boss had posted a picture of himself crying because he had to fire me without an apology, I would be pissed. No, I would be furious.”
Another commented: “Oops. I’ve just been released – along with many others. If my CEO sent this, I would probably lose my mind. You cry? I cry. We cry. You still have your job. Imagine if we all posted pictures of US wines? We would never be hired because in our industries we are forced to be RESILIENT. Pour these tears into a jar and make a potion to improve the lives of the people you released.”
Users on Twitter were also much more critical of Wallake for the post.
One person tweeted: “I’m actually pissed. There is a CEO on LinkedIn who went viral for firing 30% of his employees and posting a picture of him crying.
“Is there just no more emotional intelligence after a certain level?”
“I just had an argument with a CEO who posted a selfie on LinkedIn of himself crying for laying off employees. It’s like a landlord crying on Instagram for kicking out tenants. If I was fired and I saw my company’s CEO crying about it on social media, I would lose my composure,” wrote another.
Another person asked, “My question is how many crying selfie pics did this CEO take before he chose one to post?”
“Braden Wallake (the crying LinkedIn CEO) has to do a bit, right? There’s no way someone can truly lack self-confidence. I don’t know who needs to hear this, but going out into the public space to farm sympathy after you’ve fired your people is a POS move. Point,” tweeted another user.
What did he say about the post?
In a follow-up post on LinkedIn, Wallake wrote, “Hey everyone, yes I’m the crying CEO. No, my intention was not to do it for me or to bully myself. I’m sorry it came off that way.
“It was not my place to publicly name the employees.
“What I want to do now is try to improve this situation and start a thread for people looking for work.
“Here it is – comment gone. This is for YOU to start a new future. To make YOU stand out.
“People looking for a new job: post your CV, the job title you want, your qualifications.
“Employers: Here you have the opportunity to hire great people.”
Wallake’s follow-up post has also received negative feedback from LinkedIn users, many of whom denounced him for making the situation worse.
One person wrote: “Why have a viral post when you can get two for the same price? Braden wasn’t and still isn’t there for anyone but himself.”
Another commented: “Sorry it came out that way? If you were really sorry you would have deleted this post and not even made this post and just started over by talking about something else. Instead, the crying post still stands, and it’s obvious that you love all the attention this brings you. I’m not sure how far this shovel can dig a hole, but I hope for you that you get to the sidewalk soon so you can start fixing the things you started.”
“Quite literally what you did. You made bad decisions and then stole the moment to victimize yourself for likes. You are now riding the 15 Minutes of Fame to promote yourself and/or your brand loosely. Delete everything and don’t do that,” wrote another.