How to be in the right place at the right time

byJoe Grimm
Apr 6, 2011 in Journalism Basics

We often hear that someone landed an opportunity by being in the right place at the right time. They weren’t there just by chance.

Smart people put themselves in the right places all the time in hopes of finding opportunity. They do that because, while it may be hard to know when the time is right, we can make educated guesses about which places are right.

Once, when the American Society of News Editors was holding its annual convention in Washington, D.C., I decided to visit my son there for a few evenings and to spend my days at the hotel where the convention was.

I am not a member of the group and likely would not have been approved for membership because I was not a top editor at my newspaper. But I knew people in the group and figured something good would come of being at the convention hotel.

One of my bosses encountered me there and gave me a surprised greeting. I told him not to worry, that I was there on my own time and expense. Still, it seemed to startle him that I was among so many of his colleagues and seemed to know some of them.

And sure enough, a couple of editors who were at the convention suggested I work on small projects with them. I had no idea about the timing, but I was in the right place when they were looking for help.

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This article first appeared on Poynter Online, IJNet’s partner and the website of the Poynter Institute, a school serving journalism and democracy for more than 35 years. Poynter offers news and training that fits any schedule, with individual coaching, in-person seminars, online courses, Webinars and more. The complete article is translated in full into IJNet’s six other languages with permission from Poynter.