Jodie Foster wishes she had Gen Z’s ability to say no earlier in her career


Jodie Foster recently complained that Gen Z are ‘really annoying’ to work with because they don’t show up until 10:30 a.m. or use proper grammar—but now, the Oscar-winning actress has confessed that she wishes she had one particular trait of the younger generation when she was starting out.

During a Hollywood Reporter roundtable, she revealed that the one thing she wished she had known at the beginning of her career was that ” you can say no.”

“For whatever reason, I didn’t know that when I was young, that I could say no,” the 61-year-old True Detective star said before praising the latest cohort of workers.

“That’s what’s good about this new generation; they’re very comfortable with saying no,” she added. “Very, very good at setting boundaries and going, ‘I don’t like that’ and ‘I want to do this.’ And I didn’t know that was possible when I was young.”

She sat alongside stars Brie Larson, Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Kidman, Sofía Vergara, Naomi Watts, and Anna Sawai, who could be seen nodding in agreement. 

Nicole Kidman on “finding a compromise with your manager”

It’s all great having the confidence to push back on your employer’s demands, but without the backing of your boss, speaking up may have little impact—or worse, it could damage your career prospects. 

As Kidman pointed out: “You need to the support when you do say no from the others to go ‘yeah that’s fine.’” 

“That’s the great thing about when you’re in a position of producing power, where you go, we need to listen to this, we need to honor this, and we need to change the way we’re doing something,” the Moulin Rouge star added. “That’s an incredible position to be able to operate from.”

Instead of outright refusing to do tasks, you may land more success if you work on finding a compromise with your manager.

“There’s always a solution—it’s just that (bosses would) rather not hear the no, obviously,” Aniston agreed.

Not all bosses will agree that saying “no” is a good career move

While Foster praised Gen Z’s ability to vocalize their boundaries, the very same trait has generally brought a negative stigma to the generation.

Just last month, one CEO vented his gripe with Gen Z when a young job candidate refused to do a 90-minute task because it “looked like a lot of work.”

Meanwhile, the prosecutor-turned-reality star Judge Judy said that young workers’ track record of resisting overtime could kill their careers.

“You only get a bad rap if you deserve it… If you have a bunch of kids entering the workforce who say, ‘I don’t like to work past four o’clock,’ ‘I don’t work on Saturday,’ ‘Sunday is football.’

“Well, if you want to be successful in what you do, you’re supposed to be first in the morning and close up shop. Somebody will notice that.”

Recent research from Resume Genius also highlighted that 45% of employers find Gen Z the most difficult generation to work with, with 50% of Gen Z hiring managers agreeing with the sentiment.

But with employee stress and burnout rapidly rising and mothers still heavily penalized by traditional working norms, the researchers predicted that the youngest generation of workers could “transform workplaces for the better.”

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