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9/11: Put Family & Friends First

Today marks the ten year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks [3], an especially poignant anniversary for those who were directly affected and an especially deep wound to New Yorkers. I grew up on Long Island and spent a summer working at a startup at 50 Broadway, so on numerous occasions I would walk between the World Trade Center towers and just stare up. The buildings were, quite literally, dizzyingly tall. I was fortunate in that no one I knew had been hurt or killed during 9/11. It’s something I’m always thankful for.

I don’t usually write anything on the anniversary of 9/11 but on this tenth anniversary, I thought it was appropriate that I shared a little of what was on my mind.

My parents visited this past weekend and one of the things my dad told me was that, in the end, life is about family and friends. It’s about the relationships you make, not the amount of money you make. It’s not about where you placed in school, where you graduated from, or what your title at your job was. While there will always be competition among friends, whose kid did better at what or who is a better golfer, in the end it’s that relationship that matters, not who is actually better. It’s something we can often lose sight of in the daily grind. When you retire, you’ll look back fondly at those relationships and not whether you had a window office.

This is no more evident than with the story about Cantor Fitzgerald [4], a firm located on the 105th floor and that lost 658 employees (75%). Howard Lutnick, Chairman and CEO, survived because he took his son to his first day of kindergarten. While the article focuses on the phoenix-like return of the firm, I wanted to point out that Lutnick, for as hard of a person he may seem on the outside (or at least portrayed in the media), was saved because he put family first (at least in that instance).

So as you get ready to go about your day tomorrow, remember that in the end, family and friends are what matter. Money doesn’t.