Jade Small
Jade Small
August 15, 2023 ·  4 min read

CEO of company shares tearful selfie of ‘lowest moment’ after having to lay off staff

Getting laid off from your job is the top of the list for what can seriously ruin not only your day, but possibly the months to come. Losing your source of income can be horrible to endure, but not many people think of the employer having to do the deed. The guilt can be just as excruciating for some. One CEO made a post on LinkedIn. The post included a picture of himself crying, and an explanation of why he had to lay off two employees. Later, he received flack for the picture he posted.

Image credit: Braden Wallake | LinkedIn

A candid CEO

Braden Wallake is the CEO, and owner, of HyperSocial, a business-to-business marketing agency. Last Tuesday, he posted a selfie on LinkedIn with tears falling down his face. In the post, he candidly explained why he had to lay two of his employees, and seemingly taking full accountability for having to do so.

“This will be the most vulnerable thing I’ll ever share,” wrote CEO Wallake. “I’ve gone back and forth whether to post this or not. We just had to layoff 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,” the chief executive officer wrote. “I made a decision in February and stuck with that decision for far too long. Now, I know my team will say that ‘we made that decision together,’ but I lead us into it. And because of those failings, I had to do today, the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do.”

People first business

Braden continued, explaining how he has made his company one that cares about its employees. He described it as a people’s company. “We’ve always been a people-first business. And we always will be,” wrote Braden.

CEO Wallake also said that he is not the typical, ruthless, CEO that everyone assumes when they think of the job title. Additionally, he admitted that if he had made better decisions, the employees would still have their jobs.

“Days like today, I wish I was a business owner that was only money-driven and didn’t care about who he hurt along the way. But, I’m not,” wrote Braden. “So, 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. 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. They laid off 1 or 2 or 3. 1 or 2 or 3 that would still be here if better decisions had been made.”

The post went viral

Braden’s post also went on to say that he loves his employees, even if it is not the most professional statement to make. “I know it isn’t professional to tell my employees that I love them,” wrote Braden. “But from the bottom of my heart, I hope they know how much I do.”

In the end, the post received a massive response. It went viral, but many people did not appreciate Braden’s words. Many people commented saying he was victimizing himself in the situation. Others wondered why he didn’t do anything to rectify the problem that resulting in his employees losing their jobs.

Response to CEO’s initial post

One comment read: “This is some virtue-signalling nonsense. Stop posting about it on social media (does nothing for them) and take care of the people with actions. Like some of the posts said… Get them hired somewhere else if it upsets you… OR take a play from US Bank and everyone in the company takes a 10-15 per cent pay cut until the economy improves. That way you keep the culture you’ve invested in the people and the pay cuts can be temporary or renegotiated later.”

CEO Braden Wallake ended up making another post in response to the negative comments. “Hey everyone, yes, I am the crying CEO,” said Braden. No, my intent was not to make it about me or victimize myself. I am sorry it came across that way. It was not my place to out the employees’ names publicly,” wrote Braden. “What I want to do now, is try to make better of this situation and start a thread for people looking for work.”

What do you think? Should he have taken to social media? Let us know in the comments!


  1. CEO sparks debate after sharing crying selfie on LinkedIn to announce company layoffs: ‘Grow up’. Independent. Chelsea Ritschel. August 11, 2022.
  2. ‘Crying CEO’ criticised for LinkedIn update about layoffs doubles down with new post.Independent. Chelsea Ritschel. August 11, 2022.
  3. CEO Posts A Crying Selfie After Laying Off Employees, Receives A Major Backlash.Bored Panda. Rokas Laurinavičius and Ilona Baliūnaitė. August 12, 2022.