The Boy Scout Oath

One of the attendees (and speakers) at last month’s CIPR AGM was Bob Leaf, native New Yorker and long-time employee of Burson-Marsteller.

Against all expectation he managed to get me to part with £10 cash for a copy of his memoirs, The Art of Perception. Obviously I wanted to get my money’s-worth so I asked the CIPR nicely and claimed 10 CPD points for reading it.

Bob wrote a bit early on in his book about William ‘Bill’ Marsteller, whose speeches and memos were collected into a book called The Wonderful World of Words which is available, used, on that online bookseller for purchase (which I haven’t done yet). One of his memos was entitled “The Boy Scout Oath”, and Bob gives a flavour of some of Bill’s 27 pieces of advice.

Good advice it is as well, especially for the long-term self-unemployed.

Never lose your sense of humour. Some of you probably wish I would lose it, and then replace it with something better.

Don’t waste your abilities – write articles, make speeches. I like to think I’m doing that with this very web site, it’s good practice for my art. Marshalling arguments, structuring, trying to come up with a good finish. Failing, quite often.

Don’t get discouraged. Look back at your progress, account by account, job by job, person by person. Ain’t that the truth? Admittedly, there hasn’t been much progress during 2017, but I have at least got a small (but growing) list of organisations I will never apply to for a job ever again. Their loss, not mine.

Of course, Marsteller’s speeches and memos are ‘of their time’, so some of the language and social situations are from 50 years ago. I think I need to buy the book and update The Boy Scout Oath for the social media age. Most of us don’t talk to our bartenders these days, we air our grievances on Twitter…

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