A tech company CEO has been mocked online for posting a photo of himself in tears after firing some of its employees — and the ridicule only grew after it was revealed that just two employees had been laid off.
Braden Wallake, who founded Hyper Social in 2016, posted a lengthy message on LinkedIn on Tuesday explaining that he was devastated when he fired the employees.
“I know it’s not professional to tell my employees I love them,” he said.
“But from the bottom of my heart I hope they know how much I do.”
He added: “I can’t think of a better moment than this.”
The company’s website lists 18 people as employees.
Braden Wallake posted a tearful photo on LinkedIn on Tuesday, saying he was devastated to lay off employees
Wallake is pictured with his girlfriend Emily Chucta, the chief operations officer, with whom he currently lives and works in a branded motorhome traveling across the US
On Wednesday, he admitted that only two of his employees lost their jobs – with his girlfriend Emily Chucta, the chief operations officer, with whom he currently travels in a branded motorhome, with the second being fired.
Noah Smith was one of two employees fired by Wallake
One of the layoffs was Noah Smith, a South Dakota sales and account management specialist.
Wallake told Motherboard that both fired employees were “over-the-top nice” about it and “assured” him and Chucta that it would “be all right.”
He said he decided to make the LinkedIn post several hours later.
“I was just sitting here at my desk, just crying a little bit I guess, and decided to make the post because I’ve seen a lot on LinkedIn lately about how terrible entrepreneurs and CEOs are for firing their employees and that they” I’m going to lay off workers while they get their third home in the Bahamas or wherever,” Wallake said.
In response to comments about the post, Wallake said he had stopped taking paychecks to avoid laying off staff.
Previously, he was taking $250 a week.
He told Motherboard that he had not previously received a paycheck after renaming the company in 2019, and only started taking a paycheck last year.
Wallake and Chucta travel the United States, living and working remotely
The couple is pictured with their dog Roscoe
He said he never intended to downplay the emotions felt by those who let go, but wanted to share his feelings.
“This was a low point in my life,” he told Motherboard.
‘[I] tried not to compare my low time with the low time of laid-off workers because theirs is much worse.
‘But just to share the journey I personally go through as an entrepreneur in today’s world.’
Others accused Wallake of being too weak to run a business, or seeking devious self-promotion.
His company specializes in promotion on LinkedIn.
One of their areas of expertise is ‘LinkedIn outreach services’.
‘Do you need more sales activities for your B2B company? With our process, we take cold outreach and turn them into warm conversations with powerful, tailored messaging,” their website reads.
They also offer ‘content creation’ and ‘LinkedIn profile optimization’.
Wallake herself has 31,000 followers on LinkedIn and 36,000 followers on Instagram.
His posts include: “5 LinkedIn Tips to Optimize Your Presence,” “Best Practices for Responding on LinkedIn,” “8 LinkedIn Secrets Most Business Owners Don’t Know,” “Is LinkedIn a Waste of Time?” and “6 Mistakes on LinkedIn Company Pages Every Entrepreneur Should Avoid.”
‘I can’t believe my eyes. Do you really think you’re having a worse time than the ones you let go? Come on dude,’ said one.
Another commented in disbelief: “You fired people, took a picture of yourself crying and hit the post?”
Jason B, a blockchain investor, wrote, “CLICK BAIT AMATEUR HOUR STRIKES AGAIN.
“Did this guy actually just post a selfie of… crying? I mean seriously, he has no idea how someone with an IQ over 100 is going to see this as the most ridiculous trash posted on LinkedIn for the day (maybe week? month?? all year???).
This fake self-pity, self-attention, self-focus, self-less, self-junk, LinkedIn clutter has to stop. Is there a STUPID button we can click to hide this kind of vomit?’
Manuel Pablo Arnao, a real estate agent, added, “That selfie, gosh. A little restraint might be good.’
And Jackie Stabach, a VP of brand strategy, accused him of self-pity.
‘Yes but. I just got fired – along with many others. If my CEO sent this, I’d probably go crazy. You’re crying? I am crying. We cry.
“You still have your job. Imagine if we all posted pictures of US crying? We would never be hired because we are forced to be RESILIENT in our industries.
“Put those tears in a jar and make a potion to make the lives of the people you fired better. Connect them to other agencies/potential opportunities.
‘That’s not how you show empathy. DO MORE for your employees who have been laid off and who still exist. THIS IS NOT how. Correct again.’
Others were more supportive, praising Wallake for being open with his emotions and showing his humanity.
Wallake answered questions posted online and said he hoped it helped some — even if he saw himself being mocked.
When one person found himself being accused of self-promotion, Wallake replied, “It’s how people help themselves feel better, I guess.
“It’s much easier to assume I’m being disingenuous with this message than it is to try to get to know myself and find out the real truth whether this message was attention grabber or from the heart.”
He added: “I have laughed at people on other social media platforms who have posted pictures of themselves crying. And then I did it.
“I have no doubt that this position could be a useful tool for retaining those employees or helping them find better jobs.”
He told a commenter: ‘I don’t regret the post. I regret how it was received.’