'Crying CEO' says he loves his employees, even those he laid off

HyperSocial CEO Braden Wallake on Aug 9 wrote a guilt-filled post, which concluded with a teary-eyed selfie, about laying off employees. PHOTO: LINKEDIN.COM

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - There is a new way to cope with the guilt of firing your employees - a LinkedIn post letting your network know you feel miserable about it.

Mr Braden Wallake, chief executive officer of a marketing agency called HyperSocial, wrote a guilt-filled post on Tuesday (Aug 9) about laying off employees that concluded with a teary-eyed selfie. After the post went viral, he declared himself "the crying CEO".

Mr Wallake's original post has more than 30,000 likes and 5,300 comments. In it, he said he loves all his employees, acknowledged how his own decisions led to the dismissals and said it was the "hardest thing" he has ever had to do.

"Days like today, I wish I was a business owner that was only money-driven and did not care about who he hurt along the way" Mr Wallake wrote. "But I am not."

But some criticised Mr Wallake's post, calling it a public relations stunt and saying he was fishing for sympathy. Others expressed support for the move and said he should not be a victim of "cancel culture".

Mr Wallake's company focuses heavily on LinkedIn marketing and outreach strategies for its clients. Mr Wallake, whose profile says he is based in Columbus, Ohio, is an influencer of sorts, with more than 30,000 followers on the Microsoft-owned social network for professionals.

In an attempt to quell the debate, Mr Wallake wrote a follow-up post on Wednesday seeking to help people in need of a job.

"What I want to do now is try to make better of this situation and start a thread for people looking for work," he wrote. "I am not sorry for the post. But I would at least like to use that post for the benefit of others that may need it."

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