We work in the financial industry. For most of us, our daily jobinvolves coming into an office, sitting at a desk, turning on a computer and making decisions or performing tasks aimed at enriching our clients. Some consider this line of work mundane. Those involved in it consider it exciting, rewarding and satisfying. But never, ever, was it considered physically dangerous.
Then came September 11, 2001.
I'm writing this column from my office in New York City days after the terrorist attack that toppled the World Trade Center towers. Over 5,000 people are still missing, many of them from financial services firms, some of them personally known by the staffs of BS&T and sister publications Insurance & Technology and Wall Street & Technology. We await word on them. We cling to hope, but expect the worst. Our condolences go out to anyone who has suffered the loss of a business associate, colleague, friend, or loved one from the attack.
How do we cope with such a tragedy? Our gut response is to get on with our lives. Indeed, even firms that lost employees and offices from the attack were up and operating from remote locations in a matter of days. In the coming months, we at BS&T will write about these companies and the technologies that allowed them to come back online so quickly after such devastation.
But as much as we may wish it over the coming days and months, we cannot turn the clock back to 8:30 a.m. on September 11. That world ceased to exist once the first jet plane slammed into One World Trade Center. Going forward, BS&T will report on the myriad of technology issues this attack has raised, and focus on how banks can better operate in this new world.
I won't pretend to know or understand the ultimate goals of the terrorist groups that assaulted New York and Washington, but by targeting the World Trade Center one thing is clear: they view a Western-led global economy as a threat and an enemy. As such, we in the financial services industry need to accept the fact that we are targets, and likely to suffer additional attacks.
The good news is that we can fight back-simply by showing up to work each day. We must already be doing something right to make them fear us so much.