When an interview or event turns out to be a bust, I chalk it up to experience and squirrel it away in the hope that there will be a use for it in the future.
About a year ago, a local university persuaded me to attend a program it was hosting, where the speaker was an out-of-town businessman and columnist for a national business magazine. I figured that I might get a story out of the event and get out of the office, which I don’t do often enough.
After the program and a brief interview with the speaker, I made several attempts to get a photograph of him, including a request on the spot, all to no avail. Not even an appeal to the public relations department at the university could produce a photo.
I was planning to do a piece for our magazine, but with no photo in hand, our folks wouldn’t have much interest in it, and I wasn’t going to waste any energy on it. I’ve been known to squander time, but I loathe exerting myself for no good result.
A few months ago, said gentleman wrote about the value of time in his column, making the point that it is more important than money. You can always get make more money, he posited, but wasted time is gone forever. I had to laugh, given the time I had invested in traveling, listening to his talk and interviewing him.
So it turns out that it wasn’t a waste of time for me after all. I got this column out of it, even if it wasn’t what I had planned on. He wasted his time, I bided mine.
I’m not sure what he got out of his time investment, but I think I came out ahead.