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“Adults always overthink things” – The application

publication date: Feb 10, 2016
author/source: Derek Humphries
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Betty HumprhiesIn 2014, I took my 10-year-old daughter to work for the day. My work was going to the International Fundraising Congress in The Netherlands.

She loved it. She particularly loved this video of Kumi Naidoo’s closing plenary.

A few months later, I mentioned to her that Kumi was leaving Greenpeace. 

‘Could I do that job?’ she asked.

‘I bet you could, but you’ll never know for sure unless you try,’ I replied.

So my ten-year-old daughter wrote, and sent in, a letter of application. 

With her permission, here it is:

Application to be Chief Executive of Greenpeace International

Dear madam/sir,

I guess at 10 years old I will probably be one of the youngest applicants – I’ll talk about that later.

I am writing to you to inform you that I am interested in becoming chief executive of Greenpeace. I have heard that Kumi Naidoo is leaving his current job as chief executive. I am interested in the job and would be overwhelmed with joy if I were to get it. I know that around about 200 people would be wanting this incredible job, but I think that if I were to be given the chance, I could improve Greenpeace and help it to get stronger and hopefully help many more animals and people. Together we could slow down climate change and stop all wars.

I am interested at working at Greenpeace because I love nature and I want to help the world out of poverty and hunger. I disagree with anyone who says that the human kind is more important than any animal. Animals can feel things too, and all animals have the right to live. Why should animals be any less important than human beings? I mean humans have rights and I think that animals should have too. By that I do not mean that animals should have the right for shelter, but they should at the very least have the right to live. I am a vegetarian, and that is my choice. I am not asking everyone on the world to become a vegetarian, but I would like to ask everyone to have a heart and think about what they eat and where their food comes from. Because, I bet that about half of all the people on the planet can’t tell you exactly where their hamburger from the Macdonald’s comes from or where their chicken nuggets from the KFC come from. While writing this I am also thinking, do half the people in the world all have enough food every day?

And what about water?

How would it feel to wake up in the morning and have to walk for hours to get water and then when you come home you are starving but there isn’t any food? At least you still have water, but you don’t know if the water is going to be fine to drink or if it will kill you or your brother or sister.

The problem is that far too many people in the world feel that and do that on a daily basis. Everybody should have the right to not worry about those things. I know I can’t put my emotions down in an email but if you would give me a chance and interview me then you could see for yourself how strongly I feel about these matters. I want to sort them out personally.

I think I have given you enough problems so now I am going to give you some answers.

If I were to get the job then there would be some goals I would like to achieve.  In the first 30 days I would:

  • Visit all the Greenpeace offices around the world to make sure that they are all doing their work efficiently and effectively.
  • Make sure that offices in the same region would be focusing on the same things because if more countries in the same region would be focusing and campaigning about the same things it would make more impact on the people.
  • Check that all people with high-level jobs in the organisation are at the right job and at the right level of difficulty. It would also be great importance to me to make sure that the activists are doing their job well, but, also doing their job without using violence. If they were to use violence it would give people a wrong idea of Greenpeace especially because Greenpeace is there to stop violence and wars.

I know that this would probably be way too much to do in just 30 days but my mind is just full to the brim with ideas and so I just wrote them all. I may not be able to get them all done in 30 days but I could get it done in 50-100 days so my plan would be to do as much as possible in the first 30 days and whatever I don’t finish in the first 30 days I will continue to work on in the days after that.

You might have noticed that earlier in this letter mentioned that I am only 10 years old.

That is correct. Though if I were to get to the interview I would probably be 11 by then. You might very well be thinking that this letter is a joke. It’s not. Who would joke around with important matters like the world we live in and the animals and people that live on it? Now you will probably be thinking that a child is not up to the job. But let me give you some reasons why I would be perfect for the job:

Adults nearly always overthink things

I bet that if the world would be run by sensible, caring children the world would be a lot better off than it is now. That is because when you overthink things it nearly always creates more problems. If you were to ask a child how to stop a war than they would say something like what my five-year-old sister said when I asked her how to stop a war. She said ,“Just say sorry to each other and try to be kind because otherwise the world just gets badder.”

I think my sister is right, wars don’t get started unless somebody does something unkind and if you are sensible then you will stop when someone says sorry. And, if everyone was kinder then the war wouldn’t get started. But if you were to ask an adult, they would probably say: “That there is not just one correct answer for that.” and “It is too hard.” and “What about the money and all the damage, someone has to pay that?” But if everybody who cares would give 50 pounds to stop a war and clear up the damage then we would come a long way.

This is my future

The second reason why I would be perfect for the job is because Greenpeace is trying to work towards a better and greener and more peaceful future. That is also my future. Together as children we should be able to decide what we want to be happening in our future. At the moment grownups are deciding for us. I think that they are not doing a very good job. Most adults say that children are the most important thing. But the decisions they make seem like they are only thinking about the short term and not about the future that their children need to grow up in.

Because I care

I always try to do little things to make people happier but I would also like to do something big. I do a lot of little things as well and little things are also important because if everybody would give a little bit it would turn into a lot of good big things.

Now I am going to give you some examples of good little things I have done in the last year:

  • I have given away all of my pocket money to buy toothbrushes and toothpaste and socks and raincoats for refuges in Calais and then I went with my dad to help load all the things into a truck that was going straight to Calais.
  • I also gave sweets to a homeless man while I was visiting London.
  • In Holland they have a newspaper called straat nieuws, this means street news. The paper is sold by poor people who get most of the money that they earn from people buying it. They sell it at shops and once I gave a Christmas present of a box of chocolates to a lady selling it. I am always amazed at how happy I get at giving. Because they always smile because they want to thank you and they are happy someone cares and then you get happy because you have made someone happy and that is a great feeling.

I know that there is not a very big chance that I would be given the job, because I am only 10/11 it would be illegal for me to work. And I think that is right. All over the world child labour and slavery are still happening. And those kids shouldn’t be working so why should I? But I think that Greenpeace should set up a kind of child section of Greenpeace and then if you wanted to help the world you could go there and see if you could join. There would be one leader /chief executive of this section and that they would be in charge of that department of Greenpeace. The child department of Greenpeace would then be there to help. If Greenpeace were to make a big decision then they would first ask the child department if they were ok with it, because if the kids weren’t okay, then you would try to find a different way to do it that they agree with or just stop the decision. You would need to do an interview to get into the child department so that people know that they are up to the job. Though because it is my idea I think I would have the right to become chief executive. Though first I would like to know if I were to get Kumi Naidoo’s job or if you actually like my other idea?

This is the end of my letter and so I sincerely hope that you will understand and like my ideas and ask me for an interview.

Kind regards

Betty Humphries

Not all applicants are fortunate enough to get a response to their job applications. Or if they do get a response it is usually a form letter. But, I’m pleased to report that reply and Kumi Naidoo himself replied and you can read it here.

Derek Humphries is the proud father of Betty Humphries and Creative Director/Strategist at DTV Group. You can contact him at

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