HOUSTON -- David
Grizzle has it good at Continental. Hes worked there for nearly 20
years, rising to his current job as senior vice president for
marketing strategy and corporate development. He enjoys his work
and his colleagues.
And now hes
taking a sabbatical -- to go to Afghanistan.
volunteered to help the U.S. government work on the countrys
reconstruction. He expects to leave in mid-September for Kabul and
could remain there until the end of 2005.
Grizzle, 50, will
leave behind not only a high-paying job but also his wife and three
sons, ages 23, 19 and 14. None will accompany him, although Grizzle
wouldnt be surprised if his adventurous wife, who is climbing Mount
Kilimanjaro this month with their middle son, comes to
In a way,
however, the decision was not difficult. Grizzle made it based on
his principles, religious beliefs and desire to serve. He said the
reaction from most people who know him has been, That sounds like
I firmly believe
were not put on this earth in order to accumulate the most toys,
Grizzle said. Were put here to expend ourselves in service to
As for safety,
Grizzle insisted hes not worried. There are a lot of things Im more
afraid of than dying. Insignificant living probably tops the list
of things Im afraid of.
Grizzle said his
family has been supportive. In fact, a family connection is the
reason he was asked to go. His eldest sons best friend from college
works in the Defense Department office, searching for civilians
willing to provide expertise for war-zone reconstruction. His sons
friend recommended Grizzle, and the Pentagon called in early
Grizzle said he
was prepared to give up his job entirely, but Continental offered
him the sabbatical, with an assurance hed have a job as a senior
vice president when he returns.
In Kabul, Grizzle
will advise Afghan ministries and commercial organizations --
mostly government-owned -- on air and surface transportation,
telecommunications, power, water and media. His job wont be easy,
especially with the influence of warlords in parts of the country.
But Grizzle said he hopes his years spent working on the SkyTeam
airline alliance will help.
I dont want to
draw an analogy of dealing with warlords and SkyTeam members,
Grizzle said with a chuckle. But there is a common element in being
able to put together commercial transactions in cross-cultural
situations and being sensitive to cross-cultural
reporter Andrew Compart, send e-mail to [email protected].