Millennials are entering the global workforce during tough economic times. But according to our research into the work habits of Millennials, instead of being a negative generation fearful about their future, they remain upbeat. Of course, they do worry — but they are recalibrating their ideas of success to continue to dream big.

We spoke to Millennials in the US and Europe as part of Knowing Youth, our ongoing research program that encompasses large-scale global studies, as well as regular smaller studies on specific issues and topics.

Here are some of its key findings:The new ‘F word’ is “failure” … and it’s not an option.

  • Not only are Millennials not using the word “failure,” they believe it’s important to have a more positive outlook on setbacks
  • 67% in Europe say “I never use the word ‘failure’ to describe how I’m feeling, or I try not to”
  • 87% say “It is important to make ‘failures’ into positives”
  • Rihanna’s tattoo says it all: “Never a Failure, Always a Lesson”

They are overwhelmingly positive, happy, and optimistic about their lives right now – though 1 in 4 also admit to being stressed

They crave mentoring … but they also think they could teach their bosses a thing or two.

  • Millennials often feel their potential and creativity are overlooked
  • They want mentor relationships, but also think they have new and different ideas that should be taken seriously by their higher-ups
  • Many think they are capable of taking on their bosses as mentees
  • In the US, 85% say their mastery of technology makes them faster then my co-workers
  • In Europe, three quarters feel they can teach older colleagues something
  • 75% say they would like a mentor to guide them through their career

The online world of immediate and constant feedback has primed Millennials to need a lot of validation at work.

  • They feel short-changed if they don’t get enough feedback
  • More than 8 in 10 in Europe are goal-oriented 8 in 10 feel they benefit from regular work reviews and feedback
  • In the US, 71% say they like for the boss to share positive feedback about their progress with the whole team

They are born entrepreneurs who are redefining the workplace.

  • Over 7 out of 10 European Millennials say they have an entrepreneurial spirit in the workplace
  • They believe in setting their own goals and standards, and finding a career that fits their values – adapting to corporate or other ideologies is unappealing
  • and 6 in 10 in the US would prefer to invent their own position at their job

They believe the career of their dreams is out there.

  • 70% are positive they will find their dream career.
  • Over 6 in 10 have either achieved their dream job or are working hard to get the job of their dreams
  • The average 26 year old in the US has already changed jobs 7 times in the quest for that dream job
  • Some are worried about the future, however…
  • Between 10 and 16% are feeling less confident they’ll find their dream job, would be happy with any job that pays the bills, or fear they won’t get any job at all

But for the majority, optimism reigns:

  • 83% feel at least as positive as they did at this time last year
  • Only 17% feel less positive

Millennials recognize the impact the recession is having on their generation – but they have hope and are dedicated to living in the present.

  • They haven’t stopped spending money
  • Over 7 in 10 have at least as much money to spend on fun stuff now as they did a year ago
  • Clothes, travel, and going out with friends are priorities
  • Nearly 9 out of 10 are aware of media coverage of youth unemployment … and of them, nearly 80% worry about it
  • But they feel they’re starting to recover, and for a majority the recession won’t stop them from pursuing their dream careers

Millennials refuse to accept failure and believe that their skills set them apart, making them creative, entrepreneurial, and motivated to succeed. After all, for many in this generation, the world has been a place of limitless potential and few boundaries — where if you work hard and truly want something, you’ll get it.