The youngest generation in the full-time workforce tends to get a bad rap from those ahead of it. Generation X has to fend off the term "slackers" and the idea that members would rather eat cereal in their parents' basement than work.
Now, Millennials are facing similar stereotypes. It's a common refrain that this generation -- anyone born between 1981 to 1997 -- expects a trophy just for showing up and that Millennials won't work hard or sacrifice. The reality is that just like Gen Xers weren't all flannel-wearing Nirvana fans skirting real work, Millennials are more complicated than any broad generalization or stereotype.
In fact, a new survey conducted by student loan refinancing company Comet shows that some Millennials are willing to make major sacrifices not only for their own careers, but for the career of a romantic partner.
I would do anything for love...
Over 4 in 10 (41%) of the single, childless Millennials surveyed said they would end a relationship if it meant getting a significant or life-changing promotion. The group that was willing to do that said that on average they would put off a relationship for 11 years and marriage for seven if it meant landing a significant or life-changing promotion.
When it comes to long-term relationships, however, the respondents were less willing to sacrifice love for work. Over half (54%) would pass on a career opportunity if it jeopardized an existing long-term relationship. A higher number, however, 59% would avoid entering a long-term relationship if it would jeopardize their career.
Once in a long-term relationship, respondents were very willing to make sacrifices to benefit their partner's career. A full 86% would move to another city if their partner was offered a better job there while 79% would change states and 59% would be willing to move to another country if their partner was offered a better opportunity.
What does this mean?
"This study shows that most Millennials are willing to make huge sacrifices in order to get ahead in their career," wrote a Comet spokesperson in an email to Motley Fool. "This could either be because they're truly a driven generation looking to make the most out of their professional positions. Or, because they're still young and haven't yet learned the value of those things they'd be giving up (love, family, relationships)."
Realistically it's easier to sacrifice a theoretical long-term relationship than a real one. For example, the survey showed that 32% of respondents, who were nearly equally split between men and women, would end a relationship for a significant raise. That's an easy thing to say to a survey taker, but it's a harder conversation to have when real people are involved.
In addition, the people who said they would give up a long-term relationship for a raise set the bar pretty high with men having a higher price than women. Men needed an average raise of $46,000 to call off a long-term relationship while women would do it for a $27,000 raise.
Again, those numbers reflect only how the people being asked think they would act. It's very possible that were they actually in long-term relationships it would not be as easy as they think to walk away for more money or a better career opportunity.