If you'd just been laid off by your employer, how would you feel if you saw your old boss crying about it on LinkedIn?
That's pretty much exactly what happened to some former employees at a tech startup called HyperSocial, where CEO Braden Wallake posted a photo of himself in tears after he let people go this week.
Wallake, who runs the LinkedIn-focused marketing company, is now getting called out online for the alleged stunt. Many calling are him an attention-seeker for his "woe is me" post.
In the post, Wallake says the photo and news of the layoff are the "most vulnerable thing" he's ever shared, and he wasn't sure if he should do it.
"We just had to lay off a few of our employees," wrote Wallake. "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."
He blamed the layoffs on a decision that he stuck with for way too long, resulting in him having to do "the toughest thing [he's] ever had to do."
"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," Wallake wrote. "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 know it isn't professional to tell my employees that I love them. But from the bottom of my heart, I hope they know how much I do," continued Wallake's post.
It's unclear how many people Wallake laid off, but HyperSocial is a super-small company with about 15 employees, Bloomberg reports.
While Wallake was trying to put a softer, more caring face on his layoffs, many online weren't buying it.
One user described the whole post as "cringe," while others accused Wallake of throwing himself a pity party instead of "taking responsibility."
"Let me get this straight ... at the moment of deep-felt sadness, so deep that you were shedding tears, you reached for a phone to take a picture?" wrote one commenter. "You then wrote this post, added the photo you took whilst crying and posted it? Was this all preplanned or simply an afterthought?"
Another user accused Wallake of making the whole thing about himself instead of being a "people first" employer.
"It isn't JUST heartless, it's abusive, and you should be ashamed."
Others backed Wallake up, and his post has piled up more than 33,000 likes this week.
However, based on the comments section, it's getting way more attention for all the wrong reasons. And other LinkedIn job-seekers are noticing.
"Yikes. I was just laid off - along with many others," wrote one person on the post.
"If my CEO sent this, I'd probably lose my mind. You're crying? I'm crying. We're crying. You still have your job," said another comment. "Put those tears in a jar and make a potion to help the people's lives you laid off better. Connect them to other agencies/potential opportunities."
Wallake eventually listened to that suggestion and posted about one of the employees he let go, Noah Smith.
In his post, he highlighted Smith's qualifications and experiences, recommending him to other employers as "a fantastic human being" and "any business, team would be lucky to have Noah as part of their team."
Smith made a reaction post on LinkedIn for being "the guy who was let go by the crying CEO on LinkedIn" and shared his side of the situation.
In his post, he defended his former employer and shared that he feels "a mixture of sadness and excitement" about being let go.
LinkedIn isn't the only social media platform Wallake is active on. He's also made several videos HyperSocial's TikTok account, although there's no video post of him crying because of this.