CAREERS: My Big Break

The year was 1974, and America still put on a suit and tie (or a

dress for the ladies) to go to work. I had dropped out for a few months,

and was living on my boat moored off Buckingham Fountain along Chicago's

waterfront, when a friend interested me in a position on a major account

at a Michigan Avenue PR firm.

When the account director invited me in for an interview, I had to admit

that my suits were in storage while I lived afloat, and I had nothing

dressier than jeans and a tie-dyed shirt handy. He said, 'Come on


So I rowed ashore and walked across the park to Michigan Avenue and took

the elevator up to Cooper and Golin Public Relations (now


Carl Kay, the AD, and I hit it off. He offered me the job on the


Al Golin took a look at me and raised an eyebrow, but said OK.

Five years later, I was a senior VP on the McDonald's account, and went

on to a career in communications with McDonald's. Lesson learned: be

yourself and things can go swimmingly.

Chuck Ebeling retired on the cusp of the Millennium from his position as

chief spokesperson and corporate communications officer for McDonald's


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