Mark Dolliver: Young & Restless

Their elders may see them as novice slackers, but 20somethings in the workforce view themselves differently. A poll commissioned by Robert Half International and Yahoo! HotJobs quizzed workers age 21-28 who have a college degree or are in college. It found them ambitious about their careers, with many believing “they’ll have to work harder than previous generations and save more money for retirement.” But they aren’t patient. Asked how long professionals entering the workforce “should have to spend ‘paying their dues’ in entry-level positions,” two-thirds said “less than one year” (16 percent) or “one to two years” (51 percent). As the chart shows, fewer than half expect to stay in their jobs longer than that. Whatever loyalty they feel to a profession, it doesn’t yield loyalty to a particular employer.

Assuaging shoppers’ guilt

If the wretched excess of holiday shopping leaves you feeling guilty, so much the better for brands with a socially virtuous positioning. In polling by Cone LLC, 53 percent of those who bought a cause-related gift for last year’s holidays said they did so because it “made me feel less guilty about spending so much money on gifts by knowing they were helping someone in need.” A separate Cone poll found 52 percent of adults “feel less guilty about my consumption around the holidays if I know I am making environmentally responsible purchases.” No need to leave consumers stewing in guilt if you can exploit that sentiment.