The Service of Self Alone: A Song for the Times

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Yesterday, the citizens of Illinois (including this citizen) voted in a primary election for important statewide offices, including the office of governor.  I won’t comment on the nominees from the two major parties, an incumbent populist who has a long career in public service and a political newcomer who made a fortune in the venture capital business.

I trust both have good intentions, and I believe both want to do what they Illinoisbelieve is needed to help Illinois rebound.

In listening to acceptance speeches last night, this was a common thread: Illinois needs jobs. The unemployment rate here, currently at above 8 percent, is among the highest in the nation and the highest in the Midwest.

As regular followers know, The PRDude blog was started in 2009 as way to chronicle my search for “that next great job in public relations.”  Along with commenting on “the lighter side of public relations, marketing, communications and other stuff,” I frequently comment on the employment market and what it’s like to seek work during these challenging economic times.

Below are lyrics for a song — you know I write songs, too, don’t you? — that was inspired by my most recent job search. The title is a line from The Book of Common Prayer.

The Service of Self Alone

Save me, save me St. Theresa
From the service of self alone
Guide me, guide me to fulfillment
Down the narrow pathway home

Righteousness and perseverance
Brought me to the place I’m at
Do you hear me St. Theresa?
Should I sound a trumpet blast?

Watch me, watch me St. Theresa
As I try another door
Help me, help me knock the loudest
Louder than the man before


Me and many, many others
Are forced through no fault of our own
To toil not for some wage or purpose
In the service of self alone
In the service of self alone

So help me, help me St. Theresa
The weeks have turned to months again
Give me give me hope and one good reason
To carry on and not pretend

Copyright Edward M. Bury 2014

Hopefully, this song, which has a ska beat, will resonate with those who are seeking work. Hopefully, I won’t be inspired to write a song like this again.

No More Politics as Usual, Perhaps

Today, we’re steering slightly away from the two themes of this blog:  The noble practice of public relations, and my unending quest to secure a tremendous new full-time position as a practitioner in the profession.

That’s because today is Election Day in Illinois.  More precisely, it’s the primary for the general elections slated for November.   I know, it’s also Groundhog Day; perhaps that will be the subject for another blog next year.

Those loyal readers from Illinois or familiar with our politics know that the Land of Lincoln is in pretty bad shape from a lot of perspectives:  The state is going broke, ranking just above California in terms of having the lowest bond rating of the 50 states; one ex-governor is in jail and another will stand trial in federal court this year; our flagship university has a hiring freeze and mandatory staff furloughs;  job losses mount, and companies are fleeing to states with lower taxes and more business-friendly policies.

This is our status in these recessionary times, despite having just sent a guy from Illinois to the White House and being home to a world-class metropolis.

At this writing, the race for governor is too close to call for either party.  Voter turnout today, a cold and snowy day in Chicago, was thin.   I won’t know until tomorrow which two men will battle the next 10 or so months for the governorship.   There also were races for very important offices, like U.S. Senate and for president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners.

But it’s the governor race that hits home to me, speaking from a guy writing about public relations and seeking a new job.   Illinois can’t afford another governor who’s ill-equipped mentally and morally to take me and my 12.9 million fellow Illinoisans into the very challenging times ahead.  The nation and economy is on the rebound — I believe.  We need to be poised to take advantage of economic opportunities ahead.  We desperately need a leader with a strong vision, one who will not stand for the “business-as-usual” that has mired our economy for decades.

Side note:  In my lifetime, three Illinois governors have gone to jail; and, there’s a strong probability that a fourth will join that embarrassing cadre of failed, selfish, corrupt elected officials.

Here’s my offer: Whoever ends up with the nomination — from either the Democratic or Republican party — hire me to be part of your public relations team.  I promise to work hard, adhere to the ethical standards mandated by my membership in the Public Relations Society of America, provide sound strategic counsel and demonstrate an extremely high level of competency.

All I ask — along with being paid a salary commensurate with my experience — is that you run a campaign that’s transparent, ethical and based on the serious issues we face in this state.

A tall order, I know. But I can dream.