Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Career Lessons from Ground Zero

Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the most horrific terrorist attack upon our country. I spent the week before in New York City and made it a point to tour the WTC Memorial Museum. Among the models, videos, and artifacts on display was a room with the pictures of those who lost their lives on that tragic day. You couldn't help but be moved seeing their bright faces look back at you, people of all ages, races, cultural backgrounds, and professions. I spent time reflecting on those unique faces and the values embedded in what I saw and the values that resonated with me after my time in such a hallowed space:

Duty: Bravery was redefined by those who lost their lives trying to rescue people from the nightmare that was downtown Manhattan on September 11th. In the midst of mass confusion and chaos, their sense of duty was as unwaivering as it was the day before when the world was normal. No matter what profession you are in, you're serving someone: focusing on those that you serve cultivates your sense of duty.

Passion: I cannot say whether those who went to work at the World Trade Center on September 11th did so because of a love of their careers or a sense of obligation to their families, their lifestyles, or some other reason. But looking upon those faces, I was reminded to live a worklife of passion, one that isn't one-dimensionally sunny but displays a sense of mission for one's craft and one's constituents.

Love: I never thought about work in this way before, but living a professional life of duty and passion, of service and excellence, of learning and growth...this is how you show love in your career, making the world a better place to be and contributing positively to your craft.

September 11th affected us in many different ways. It gave me comfort to look at an event that has been examined from many perspectives from a career one, and I hope that it inspires you to be the best you can be in your profession.

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