It hurts him more than the people he fired

Look at this man. He is so sad. He is crying. His life is so difficult.

Poor man. Why is he crying? Because he is a CEO. Because he had to fire two of his employees. Oh, sure, the employees have lost their income and are going to have to struggle to find new jobs, but think of the mental anguish their boss went through.

This boss, though, had the idea that he could burnish his reputation as a Good Guy by crying for a camera.

“This will be the most vulnerable thing I’ll ever share,” HyperSocial CEO Braden Wallake wrote on LinkedIn Tuesday. “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. So, I just want people to see, [sic] 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.”

If there are a hundred thousand like him, that implies there are two hundred thousand people who have lost their jobs.

Isn’t it nice that the boss can hurt people and then post a picture to show he isn’t cold-hearted? I’m sure the PR was useful for him.

The article itself is 16 paragraphs about the weeping boss, and we know nothing about the two fired employees, not even their names.


  1. Chris J says

    At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if CEOs are cold calculating bastards or pure-hearted souls. It’s the power they wield over the lives of their workers, who are inevitably far more vulnerable. Not to mention the fact that they personally benefit by keeping those working under them in precarious positions so they have more leverage to keep wages low.

    If you really are so sad about having to fire people, support a society with extensive social safety nets so firing someone isn’t such a big deal anymore. Oh… what’s that? You don’t want that? You just want to feel bad about having power over others? Neat.

  2. says

    FWIW, Hypersocial is listed as having 21 employees on LinkedIn. The article itself says “The CEO had tried to make sacrifices ahead of going through with the layoffs, reducing his pay to zero from the original $250 a week he had been paying himself, he said.” and that’s like, $13k a year? Sooooo… not exactly the stereotypical megacorp CEO. The crying photo seems gauche but also not really a metaphor for the things that people want it to be a metaphor for.

  3. Deepak Shetty says

    I dont really know what point is being made here.
    Suppose the company is losing money , then layoffs are inevitable , would you rather the CEO be overjoyed ? I can get it if the company is profitable.
    And obviously the CEO would write about how they feel – why would they presume to speak for other people and describe how it must be like for other people to lose their jobs?
    Its the website that chose(probably) not to interview the laid off employees and why would they reveal their names – Most people dont want it advertised that they were laid off.
    You have no idea whether this person is genuine or not – why do you need to assume the worst ?

  4. silvrhalide says

    Were they fired for cause? Or just laid off?
    The real question is: will CEO fight to deny the employees unemployment benefits? Or will he just sign and green light the unemployment inquiry from the state unemployment office?
    Were the 2 employees just excised because of financial issues or were they fired for harassment, not actually doing any work, etc.? If one employee is a raging homophobe, they’ve gotta go, no matter how good their work is, because it’s not worth it to lose the other 20 employees and not coincidentally, it’s the right thing to do.

    If the CEO’s pay is zero, what, exactly, is he living off of? If the guy is taking zero salary but as owner of the business is getting generous dividend payouts, the tears are rather crocodilian.

  5. cartomancer says

    Here’s a thought for our dramatically lacrymose friend – why not convert your top-down capitalist business into a worker co-op? That way it isn’t you0r decision to fire the workers: it’s a democratic decision made by the whole body of worker-owners (including the two in question)! Who might very well find ways to change other parts of the business so that the two individuals can still work there and do something productive.

    What Weepy McGroan there has in fact highlighted is the sclerotic irrationality of the current economic system and the need for change. Way to go Weepy!

  6. drew says

    From the article:

    He performed one of the layoffs and his “girlfriend slash business partner” laid off the other employee while he watched.

  7. says

    It does hurt. My former boss reached a very senior position in our organisation. He had the unpleasant duty of dealing with a disabled staff member who had been caught tickling the petty cash tin to the tune of somewhere between $10,000-30,000.
    This guy worked for another manager who was so incompetent he didn’t realise he was racking up huge petty cash expenditures even though he was the one responsible for signing them off. My boss got the job of parking him somewhere while they worked out what to do with him. I ended up with the baby-sitting job and spent 4 months keeping him out of harms way while the wheels slowly turned to sack him. In the end my boss met with his carer and told him it was in his best interests to resign . He was effectively sacked but it meant he wouldn’t be charged, the fraud would be concealed and his incompetent manager wouldn’t suffer. The only one who did was my boss who is a decent compassionate man who was always supportive of his staff. My only job was to not get pissed off when the guy turned up for wok drunk after he found the early opener pub nearby. That and sitting him in the corner doing meaningless work to keep him occupied and out of everyone else’s hair. He did resign and a few months later was employed by the managers of a police pension fund.

  8. numerobis says

    drew: it’s pretty typical that the direct manager handles the layoff. It’s also not particularly uncommon for couples to found businesses together.

  9. Rich Woods says

    He performed one of the layoffs and his “girlfriend slash business partner” laid off the other employee while he watched.

    That’s some serious kink there.

  10. chrislawson says


    Don’t be fooled by the low CEO pay. Elon Musk is only on a $60K annual salary, which he very demonstratively refuses to take. By not paying oneself an income, one can completely avoid income tax. Instead of paying themselves a salary, they do things that increase the value of their company (e.g. capital purchases) and borrow against that. This is a common trick of CEO-owners and one of the main reasons the richest people in America are so dead set against a wealth tax.

    Now I’m not saying that all CEOs/managers/owners are like Musk. I know plenty of small business owners who have lived off tiny salaries and lived in shoeboxes for a few years while they were building their businesses. But while this company is obviously no megacorp, 21 employees means it’s not a small business either. I find it hard to believe that his $230 a week was too much — this means the company was unable to generate $11 per week per employee. I would also give very good odds on this CEO living in a much more expensive house and driving a much more expensive car than his employees despite his zero salary.

    And finally, why did he feel the need to release this video to defend the reputation of CEOs as a class? Most of us already understand that running a business can be hard work and involve tough decisions and that most owners are running small local businesses rather than huge corporations. But we live in a world where, as a class, CEOs and business owners are the single biggest force behind environmental destruction, cultural degradation, wage and working condition regression, and political corruption. If he wants to improve the public perception of CEOs, releasing a video of himself being upset at one of the unpleasant aspects of his role is not going to cut it.

  11. whywhywhy says

    Seems like a parent telling a child as they are spanking them: ” This hurts me more than it hurts you!”

  12. unclefrogy says

    well if he is really crying he has probably come to the conclusion that his business is on the down slope toward failure and not in the growth stage of adding more people as to meet demand.

  13. rockwhisperer says

    I’ve worked for a couple of tech startups (fabless chip companies) that went under, kicking and screaming, laying off whoever’s function they could most afford to not staff, while simultaneously struggling mightily to get the next round of venture capital funding. The executive staffs had stopped getting paychecks long before the plug was pulled and the place went belly-up. For at least one of the CEOs, that was a real financial hardship for him, because he’d invested everything in the company, and his family was living on his wife’s salary (employed elsewhere). Here in Silicon Valley, raising a family on one salary, with nothing in savings, is seriously living on the edge. But so damned many things have to go right, and continue to go right, to get such companies solid enough to be bought out by a larger firm wanting to expand in the relevant sector. Startups are legalized gambling.

    Management hated laying people off, they honestly seemed to celebrate their employees, there was a real “we’re all in this together” vibe that wasn’t artificial. Although employee pay might only be average for the valley, the companies tried very hard to support people balancing their personal and professional lives well. I was a latecomer to both places and had no expectation that my options would ever be worth much, but it was very easy to get up in the morning to go to work with a bunch of collegial people who shared common goals, with work that was itself very engaging. When the companies were contracting internally because of funding issues, the CEOs stood up before us and explained what was happening financially, and what they were doing to seek more funding. They were honest and forthright.

    But no manager in either of those companies would be caught dead crying publicly. That’s a stupid show. A CEO ought to suck it up and deal, because this unpleasant part of the job is still part of the job. Do your crying in private.

  14. fishy says

    This is the future. This is the now.
    This ridiculous feeling of self importance and the need to express it to the world along with the means to do it.