Photo credit: seeveeaar, Creative Commons/Flickr

Is two years on the job enough to be successful?

Photo credit: seeveeaar, Creative Commons/Flickr

We know that the average amount of time a Millennial spends at a job is two years. And while we often talk about the impact this has on organizations, the work force, and the Millennial’s resume to potential employers, we rarely discuss the impact this has on the ability of Millennials to be successful on the job, build their skill sets, and strengthen their brands.

Dan Blakemore recently shed a light on this in his recent blog post How long should you stay on your job? An adviser of his stated that people should stay in their fundraising positions for at least 3 years:

“…results from your first two years of any position are predominantly a result of things done by a predecessor (unless of course it is a new position or there are other mitigating circumstances to consider) and that it isn’t until your third year on the job that your own ideas and initiatives begin to produce results.”

While he is referring to fundraising jobs, I wonder if there is some truth to this in most positions (barring an obvious bad fit, a new position, a new organization, and other circumstances).

I’m at my fourth job in the past five years. My first two jobs were fellowships, so there was an obvious time limit, and I left my previous job after two years because I wanted to do more writing and social media management. Each of these organizations were at various stages in their growth and in three my role was new or had been changed significantly (side note: why do fundraising/marketing always seem to be the last positions added to the staffing chart?!)

I often make sure that I have concrete successes and goals so that at the end of a year so I can point to what I’ve done and what I need to focus on. Building on the work of a previous employee is, I think, somewhat inevitable, yet I also don’t think it’s impossible to leave your mark in less than three years or walk away with tangible results. While we can account for some variables that make success more likely, some things can help or hinder success regardless of time on the job, like your manager or team, organizational leadership, and type of program. I also strongly believe that we can lead and affect change where ever we are in our careers.

What do you think? How long do you have to be on a job in order to see results?