Summary.

Dedicated to those essential workers who died trying to save others on 9/11. And to those who survived and are still suffering.

Pre-9/11

My first memory of 9/11 started with the attack on the WTC on February 26, 1993, my father’s birthday.

I was at Columbia Business School pursuing my MBA and took a position at Merrill Lynch in one of their fixed income research areas on the 11th floor, right across the street from the WTC.

The bomb went off in the parking garage and within 5 minutes we were all staring, having no idea what was happening while it was happening.

8 years later: 9/11

I was working at Credit Suisse at 11 Madison, 50+ blocks away from the WTC.  A client had an annual golf outing that very day. I was on a train to Delaware when the first plane hit.

My family lived in Manhattan in Greenwich Village. I franticly called home and found out everyone was safe. Over the ensuing weeks, I was fortunate enough to have learned that I knew no one personally who had died.

Life slowly returned to quasi-normal after so many funerals, many of us had the ability to reflect.

My mind, amongst other topics, turned to the civil servants who gave their lives.  I started wondering how our society can value (pay) heroes so little? What kind of a warped society do we live in?

The pay imbalance 

Why do individuals who risk their lives for others, police, fire, emergency, all other essential workers get paid so little? My 1st year analysts made more than they did.

I can’t begin to understand risking my life for someone other than my family.  Essential workers died so I could continue to live.

I was a banker making 7 figures. I didn’t save anyone from a burning building, yet my compensation was 10x that of a firefighter.

I guess my work helped create jobs, something worthwhile. However, could my job have been worth multiples of someone who willingly rushed into a 100+ story building to save others?

Essential learnings

I can try to explain why the imbalance exists today. That’s not the point. The fact is that most of you reading this article make 6 figures, some mid to high 6 figures.

Nothing wrong with making a lot of money if you realize you stand on the shoulders of those that have come before you. Your ancestors, your teachers, your family, and your civil servants.

You don’t need to quit your day job to appreciate those individuals that make so little yet do so much.

Please keep in mind the many 9/11 charities that exist today. And those for Afghanistan, Haiti, food banks around the corner from your home, etc.

Do something today to remember

Tunnel to Towers Foundation is an employer of one of my clients. Please think about giving a donation.

For my part, if you know a veteran, I’m happy to help them with their career strategy, complimentary.

 

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