When I’m reviewing resumes as a hiring manager, I don’t expect to see more than 4 jobs in a 10-year span. It makes me wonder – is this person a dependable, committed candidate? This is hypocritical of me though because my resume would be a huge red flag to myself, which leads me to wonder if I am unreasonably judgmental of job hoppers.

Some of my friends met their spouses in college, or even earlier, in high school. I admire these people who are able to commit to a life partner without exploring other opportunities for potentially more compatibility. How do they know the grass isn’t greener on the other side?

Exploring multiple grass patches in my career has led to diverse experiences: engineering teams large and small, processes existent and non-existent, coworkers I like and don’t like. These multitudes helped me build perspective and learn that what I thought were deal-breakers were not true deal-breakers. Because I’ve concluded that everywhere has problems, but many can be fixed, I invest more energy into improving the situation I’m in instead of just griping about them.

Similarly, it helped me identify my actual deal-breakers so I know to sniff them out during the interview process. In landing at Included Health, I intentionally avoided an incompatible manager and an ambiguous product roadmap. I have a difficult time with authority, so I really needed a manager that I like and respect. I also appreciated that the business has a clear strategy, which allows engineering to focus on technical and product problems.

The right answer to the number of jobs, much like the right number of people to date before marrying, is that there isn’t really a right number. It’s whatever amount of experiences help a person discover what matters to them, and that good things take investment and time.