If you did any shopping this holiday season you may have noticed a change in the way retailers are marketing: They’re selling the shopping experience as much as they’re selling products. Experiential marketing is all the rage.

According to research, millennials value experiences over owning things. So brand marketers are focusing more and more on the customer experience to attract that coveted demographic. Apparently, it’s working. And therein lies the rub.

What’s great for companies trying to sell you stuff – experiences, products, services, whatever – is not necessarily great for you, or your career, for that matter.

While I’m not a big fan of generational stereotypes, the data doesn’t lie. All the reports I’ve seen tell the same somber story: the nation’s largest demographic is overeducated, under-employed and heavily in debt. Millennials are spending too much, saving too little and not taking advantage of a booming stock market.

Entering the workforce during the great recession and being saddled with $1 trillion in student loans certainly hasn’t helped, but I don’t think it makes sense to simply blame it on the economy and call it a day. At least part of the problem is that millennials are not as well-suited to thrive in a competitive job market as some believe.

From my perspective, this generation appears to be overly idealistic. Millennials want what they want and they’re not particularly interested in settling. That’s not a great combination, especially early in your career.

As a baby boomer who spent years working jobs I wasn’t always excited about after college, I can tell you from personal experience, if that’s what it takes, that’s what you do. You have to be willing to sacrifice and pay your dues if you want to live the life down the road. That’s not just the way it is; that’s the way it’s always been.

Look, I get the whole flexible work schedule, collaborative workplace thing. That’s not nearly as new as everyone makes it out to be. I felt the same way when I was a young up-and-comer. And it’s certainly laudable to want to love what you do and make a real difference in the world.

We all want our work to mean something more than just a 9 to 5 job for an hourly wage.  But as the Rolling Stones so aptly put it, “You can’t always get what you want.” And the second part of that refrain, “But if you try sometimes, well you just might find, you get what you need,” is the key.

If you’re sitting on a mountain of debt and don’t have a pot to piss in, it might not kill you to say yes to an opportunity that isn’t exactly what you’re looking for in the hope that it will lead to something better down the road. If you want big things out of life, you have to be willing to make a few tradeoffs that will pay off in the end.

Life can’t all be one fantabulous experience after another.

Whoever told millennials that they can have it all really sold them a bill of goods. I believe their coddling boomer parents did this to them, but that’s neither here nor there. At some point, you have to play the cards you’ve been dealt. You only get one life to live; the sooner you own it, the better.

Look, I’ve known countless successful executives and business leaders and not one of them got to where they are without making sacrifices. Nobody drops out of the sky into a dream career. We’ve all done our share of flipping burgers, serving drinks, and making cold calls to make it big. And the one thing we all agree on is that it was worth it.

No matter when you were born, my advice is the same: Life is longer than you think. And your career is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s great to live in the moment – to experience life fully – but if you want great things out of life, you have to keep one eye on the horizon and prioritize long-term goals.

Image credit Stefan Muller via Flickr

A version of this originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com.