I often don't even bring it up during the interview, until I get an offer. At that point if they're not willing to negotiate my basic rights as a worker, it's not a company I want to work for and I'm glad I've wasted their time.
Always demand to see the offer letter/agreement first before you accept, and don't be afraid to walk away if it contains a non-compete. They've screwed over at least two friends of mine and they're totally not worth it. I've written about my experiences with non-competes before:
Gives you an idea how important these non-competes are to them.
I should mention these were big, powerful employers. You might be able to negotiate them with small employers who suffer from lack of candidates.
Even now, with the great shortage of tech talent - while is repeatedly used as a justification to import an unlimited number of foreign workers - these very same large employers who complain about this shortage, do not hesitate to reject a qualified candidate who will not sign away their right to work with a "non compete".
You have the leverage not to work there. They have the leverage not to hire you. If enough people choose to work there despite things they don’t like, your leverage is not lost because of the company being large, it’s lost because people choose to work there despite things you don’t like.
Companies compete for employees.
In many areas where non-competes are legal, all employers slap them on their contracts.
So your choice is to sign one, or remain unemployed.
Also, most employees aren't fully aware of what these non-competes mean anyway.
> In many areas where non-competes are legal, all employers slap them on their contracts.
As others have pointed out, it's not uncommon to get them (and other clauses) struck out of employment agreements during hiring. I've struck that one from all places I've worked, I've struck all patent and IP claims out that were broad enough to cover things I do outside of work, I've gotten copyrights assigned to me instead of the employer, and so on, even very early in my career.
>So your choice is to sign one, or remain unemployed.
If it's that onerous, sign one to get a job, and while getting paid, immediately look for a new job that doesn't violate it without one. Not a single state has one so broad as to prevent you from any reasonable work. Problem solved.
Employment is always a negotiation. If you enter thinking you have zero leverage and are unable or unwilling to find other work, then you do have zero leverage.
I'll be polite and not accuse you of fabricating. Your experience is extremely, curiously atypical. I know from experience that these clauses are mandatory for several large employers. They are not waived for anyone. If you google, you'll find examples of senior vice presidents being sued for them.
The only way you can have them waived is if you negotiate with small employers who are starved for talent, and even then it won't be easy to do as a junior.
In fact I'm skeptical you even knew what a non-compete was as a recent grad.
> If it's that onerous, sign one to get a job, and while getting paid, immediately look for a new job that doesn't violate it without one.
So your solution is to act unethically, accept a permanent position just to get a paycheck while looking for a new job?
My impression of this comment is sinking by the sentence.
Reality check: if everyone in your area requires a non-compete, and you couldn't get a NC-free offer months, why would you get one now, when you're looking to leave a job you literally just accepted?
To potential employers, you now look worse than before.
> Employment is always a negotiation. If you enter thinking you have zero leverage and are unable or unwilling to find other work, then you do have zero leverage.
"I like to make boastful absolutist claims because I have very little actual experience in the job market."
First time was as a new grad. The non-compete literally prevented me from working within 200 miles of my home in the same industry. I noped out. Even when they removed it I wasn't interested because that's shady.
Second time was at a different company. I just let them know I wasn't comfortable giving up my 1st amendment rights just to work somewhere and they considered it and let me take it out. My HR person was awesome and the company treated it's employees well.
Not disputing your other points, just want people to know they should at the very least make sure to ask. It may end up with a no, but it could end up turning out alright.
Then why mention it? So you can say you mentioned it? You can look up my name - I've written a decent amount of material for pay, some of which is also on my website, precisely because I requested the copyrights. You can look over my employment and side project history to see I have gotten the ability to both work on commercial stuff at work and off work.
Instead of implying someone is lying with passive aggressive nonsense, simply do some legwork.
>In fact I'm skeptical you even knew what a non-compete was as a recent grad.
You seem to make a lot of claims about me. Maybe your experience is not what everyone has seen? I learned well before leaving undergrad that you can edit legal documents before signing them, and if they countersign, then they agreed to your document. If they don't like it, then you negotiate.
This I thought was common knowledge.
>Your experience is extremely, curiously atypical.
There's a lot of similar claims on this page.
>for several large employers
I've stayed away from them for the most part, since they're more inflexible, and for good reason: dealing with lots of employees is much easier with uniform rules.
>So your solution is to act unethically
This was opposed to simply breaking contracts or go unemployed. And a job is a business agreement - you work there as long as it suits you, they employ you as long as it suits them. If they're doing something you find so onerous, it's not unreasonable to find a new job.
>"I like to make boastful absolutist claims because I have very little actual experience in the job market."
You may want to look up my name. It's astounding you make so many claims about me without knowing me. What this shows, more than anything, is that you believe your own views, correct or not, over simply looking to check if something is true.
I made three assertions:
1. You will not be able to negotiate away non-compete clauses with large, powerful employers.
2. You may be able to negotiate them as a senior candidate for smaller companies.
3. Junior candidates will find it hard to negotiate their offers, including waiver of non-competes.
You agreed with my 1st assertion.
Your resume shows you to be a perfect example of the 2nd assertion. You are a senior engineer, an expert in his field, who worked in very senior technical roles in a series of small and very small companies. As such, you were in the best possible position to negotiate.
You seemed to dispute my 3rd assertion with your claim that you were able to negotiate non-competes away "early in your career", but your resume shows you took a Lead Programmer position in your very first year of full-time work. So you were never really a junior - you were a senior engineer working for small operations since the earliest stage of your career.
This is great for you, congratulations. It doesn't change the fact that your situation is unique, and doesn't generally apply. Not to most engineers, and certainly not to fast-food and similar unskilled workers mentioned in the article. These are people who don't have much money, really need the job, and often have limited choices in their area. They don't have the money to relocate, nor do they have leverage to negotiate.
So while I applaud you for being in the favorable position to negotiate away clauses since your first year of employment, I still caution against concluding that this is how it works for everyone else as well.
The majority of programmers don't work for large companies. Many of the biggest employers employ in California, further skewing the data towards programmers not having to worry. About half of all states don't even have non-compete laws for programmers.
As such, I suspect your losing jobs by refusing to sign them is the atypical experience, not mine.
>Your resume shows you to be a perfect example of the 2nd assertion. You are a senior engineer....
I was once junior, with the same results...
>but your resume shows you took a Lead Programmer position in your very first year of full-time work.
Yep, negotiation, not experience, which is exactly my point. And I didn't take any job thrown at me, I worked carefully to move to a situation I wanted to be in. One can move themselves up career ranks much faster by learning how to sell themselves and to take risks, than by trying to follow the company playbook.
If you do what most people do, you will get the outcome most people get. To do differently, make consistent, concentrated effort to do things differently in the proper manner and time.
I've found more developers over my career are not advancing to where they want or getting what they want through lack of learning how to deal with negotiation. They too often think the rules are fixed and rewards a solely a function of their technical skill, both of which are false.
I've taught many interns at companies I've been at how to negotiate better, and many of them were able to get significant contract changes made on their very first job.
I've also have many developers ask how to move up/over, and when I recommend they take on new or harder projects as they're presented, those programmers shy away from the unknown to do what they know. Those types, fear of risk, don't move as fast or as far. I don't begrudge them, they prefer safety, but when they complain later in their career that they didn't go as far as someone that did do scary, out of comfort things, it's mostly their own choices.
>I still caution against concluding that this is how it works for everyone else as well.
I never thought it works this way for everyone, but in many cases, it's not the systems fault; it's the employees fault for not working the process smarter, and for not developing skills useful for dealing with people as much as they develop their technical skills.
Interviews are a sales process. Learning to sell is a very useful skill, at every level. I find few developers that have learned this and do it well.
As a contractor it's not that uncommon to be presented contracts with clauses that fail disguised employment regulations. Usually with some negotiation I can get these changed, but on one occasion I recieved a lucrative offer from an intermediary that refused to change the offer. I ended up working for the same client (bank) via another intermediary.
Personally, I refuse to sign bullshit clauses, but many of these companies do refuse to budge, and I imagine it's much harder for junior people to leave the money on the table.
That's an odd attitude. You've also wasted your own time, yes?
I can see how it's problematic to bring it up ahead of time. "By the way, I won't sign a non-compete." Immediately the company is on alert: you plan to quit after learning their secrets and go to a competitor? It's like drug testing: obviously a violation of your rights, but why would I hire this one guy who refuses to take it?
The only real solution is legislative. For you to die on that hill repeatedly means the companies are still just as profitable, and you're unemployed.
Am I the only one who finds this asymmetry bizarre? Shell I ask the hiring manger to take a drug test? And why would I work for him if he refuses?
Yes, he wasted his own time, but also got XP out of it. And now the company invested already resources on him and may probably think it’s the worth the risk.
Wait, there's another approach.
Sign the non-compete, and let them sue you, if they even notice that is, after you're in the new place. I had a boss that did this (which I saw happen live) nonchalantly. And managers are worth going after more than individual contributors in many cases. In the most recent case they went after him and New Company's lawyers came to the rescue. For those readers not in the US, those of us commenting from within the US have different laws in different states. In New York State, the judges typically respect non-competes for one year (even if it says 1000 years in the contract).
One employer of mine tied stock options to the non-compete, in a totally separate document from the offer letter. There has to be something material, otherwise, what are they going to do, beat you up? A restraining order so you can't go to New Company?
To begin at the end, the standard legal remedy for violating a non compete is to enjoin you from working for your new employer. So then you are out of a job.
Yes, you can tell your new employer (in the hiring negotiation) that you have a noncompete, and tell them to clean up the mess for you. They’ll often do it, if you are valuable enough. For large employers, the common strategy is to negotiate down the time, and then stash you in an unrelated part of the business until that time is up. In the worst case, you go on “garden leave”, meaning you get paid to go home and work in your garden. You get the picture that they are not going to do this for a junior coder, it’s going to be for a senior leader or principal engineer.
Simply don’t sign such a contract.
You wouldn't find out until I found a new job someplace else, right? And at that point, why would I lose sleep over how incensed you supposedly would be, here, hypothetically?
Worked great for my ex boss. What do you recommend, a person stays unemployed forever because they refuse to sign these unprincipled agreements? Did you read the Bloomberg article?
We're not all Richard Stallman. Some of us have mortgages and obligations. Let's hope more states follow California.
You don't need to be that dramatic about the non-compete. What you do is you ask HR via e-mail whether the non-compete is negotiable or a mandatory requirement for employment. If it is mandatory, then you have written proof that the non-compete is a contract of adhesion, so you simply need to budget for a lawyer to sue to nullify it on termination. If it is negotiable, then you don't sign the non-compete, or sign a non-compete clause that actually compensates you at full or partial salary for the time spent not competing.
I'm not incensed; I'm pointing out this attitude and commentary is likely a negative to your getting hired if employers discover it.
>You wouldn't find out until I found a new job someplace else, right?
Unless some previous employer mentioned it, or a google or background found it (or this comment).
It's pretty common to run all potential hires through a background check service, especially as the value of the hire increases. I know places I've done hiring has not hired people based on their past discoverable behavior.
This is largely irrelevant for employees in California, due to its commerce and tort law rendering non-compete clauses unenforceable for employment. In the past few years, however, we have seen companies suing past employees for alleged theft of trade secrets. This chilling effect could end up having the same outcome as an enforceable non-compete.
I haven't seen this yet in NY, although I have been contracting for several years.
In the case of my ex-boss, he told New Company right away as he was being hired, and they had already the legal setup to watch his back. Lawyers came after New Company, and then eventually it went quiet.
Dodging a bullet is not wasting time. In fact, not signing a noncompete implies that the employee will not be forced to wait out an unspecified period before he is authorized to accept a job offer. Thus, refusing to sign a noncompete not only saves time but also improves their chances to have access to better job opportunities.
Even with a smaller employer, you will need some bargaining power.
Non-competes prevent you from working for your employer's commercial competitors. I.E. if you leave Uber, you can't go work for Lyft.
Also, it's naive to assume you can just "sell" an employer on a contractual change that goes against their goals.
Saying "I'm a software engineer, and I plan to continue being a software engineer after we part ways, instead of waiting tables" also sounds like a strong "sell", but it does not work based on my experience.
It's not about convincing anyone, it's about power and who has it.
Otherwise your comment explains it well.
Yes, you have to be good at your job and hard to replace before you make demands. That part should be obvious. At any rate, I've had plenty of success striking all non-compete agreements before starting my own business permanently. Just be good enough and hard to replace.
> Yes, you have to be good at your job and hard to replace before you make demands.
You are required to sign a non-compete before accepting the job. You cannot be "hard to replace" because you haven't started that job yet.
They won't even "replace" you - they just won't hire you!
> At any rate, I've had plenty of success striking all non-compete agreements
As I mentioned elsewhere, this is possible if you are a very strong senior candidate negotiating with relatively small employers who are desperate to hire you and don't have many alternative candidates.
At larger corporations, I've been told straight up that the non-competes are policy and won't be waived for anyone.
If you check the history of non-compete lawsuits, you'll find some very senior employees being sued, so this statements seem true.
That's somewhat reasonable, unlike the "we'll fire you, good luck finding any new employment to pay your bills" kind of non-compete.
I am not sure if there are fewer great engineers in Chicago; I have certainly met lots of people who were as good as anyone I've met in SV and that I've learned a lot from. I think it might be that (Midwestern sensibility and all) they aren't chasing the latest shiny thing as much, and often work in some more boring business domain, getting things done rather than "changing the world".
Another thing California does right is refusing to honor noncompete agreements from other states.
Most other states are too beholden to a few big companies and don't see how following suit will only help them over the long term.
No Fairchild? No FairChildren?
Basically, no Silicon Valley.
According to an Endeavor Insight report: in 2014 of the more than 130 Bay Area tech companies trading on the NASDAQ or the New York Stock Exchange, “70 percent of these firms can be traced directly back to the founders and employees of Fairchild. The 92 public companies that can be traced to Fairchild are now worth about $2.1 trillion, which is more than the annual GDP of Canada, India, or Spain.”
You also have to wonder how litigious the society was at the time; the legal framework and protection available was probably not mature enough in a industry going through renaissance. However, it is certainly different today and the poignancy is encapsulated in this quote by Tom Gallo: When you get sued by a big corporation, you lose no matter what
Of course things like trade secrets won't be transferred, but the general skills, ideas and know-how can quickly spread from company to company. In contrast, in regions with non-competes, companies are effectively more siloed.
Imagine Facebook had to wait for a couple of years to be able to hire any senior engineers with the knowledge and skills to scale their services.
They would lose momentum, and quite possibly fail as their service would be constrained by severe scaling and reliability issues.
The reason Facebook and other unicorns were able to thrive in SV is because they were able to poach dozens of experienced engineers from other companies, that are all arguably its competitors.
If you like startups, non-competes are some of your worst enemies.
Also, as a workers rights issue, always ask yourself if the company would do the same for you.
If they ask you to sign a contract saying to give six weeks notice or something silly ask if they would give you six weeks notice of a layoff or termination.
In the case of non-competes you should ask if they don't hire from their competitors too... If they're going to reduce YOUR compensation because of competition from engineers working at other companies it's not a fair claim.
1-3 months mutual notice period is common practice in many countries. In France 3 months is standard.
The examples you listed makes me ask this. Imagine your parents, while raising you, given this option of having their pay reduced by 25%. How likely would the options you listed have been an "opportunity of a lifetime" to them?
I can imagine plenty of people would accept the option of taking 75% of their salary to spend all/most of their time with their young kids for a couple of years.
After tax, it might not work out to much of a difference anyway, especially after you consider the other incidental expenses relating to work (transport, attire, etc).
Of course, no agreement is going to be 100% perfect in every scenario, but this is way more even-handed than a one-way non-compete with no compensation at all.
I just had a quick look (I never had one), non-competes without compensation are illegal in France.
Another possible explanation: "I took a two-year sabbatical to work on my own projects and improve my skills".
One time I got $50k and full salary to stay on with a group that was in run down mode. I wouldn't take that option again.
The US unemployment rates, both youth and overall, are about half of France rates.
Sticky job movement causes friction in both directions, like most sticky economic variables.
Also, Germany laws are not France laws; comparing them is not valid.
Here  is a well cited paper showing from theory and empirically that gains in labor do result in unemployment. From the abstract: "Tight hiring and firing rules and military conscription most clearly seem to have adverse effects".
Here's  a slightly older one addressing France and Germany in particular, showing what I claimed. France is not Germany; your comparison is invalid.
Here's  another heavily cited, more recent paper, that pulls France out in particular. From the abstract: "Heavier regulation of labor is associated with lower labor force participation and higher unemployment, especially of the young."
There's plenty more papers with the same results. Use Google scholar to find them.
You can dislike the results, but ignoring the result and claiming they are not real simply hurts more people through ignoring evidence, thereby avoiding correct solutions to the problems.
When normalizing across other variables, this is consistent with the econ literature.
>Clearly it has been demonstrated this is not true.
Cite that it's clearly not true. I don't think it's been clearly shown these have correlation 0 or negative.
>one is not required for the other.
No one has claimed that.
>but that doesn't make it an established thing
Nothing is ever established to the certainty for enough nitpickers. But when the majority of literature of experts leans in one direction, it's safe to bet that their majority opinion is most likely the truth. Sometimes that is overturned, but the majority of expert consensus opinions remain correct.
Do you think that making it hard to fire workers makes it more or less risky on the part of an employer to hire a new worker? If more risky, then how is this offset in hiring?
Employers and markets are not wholly stupid.
Seems more reasonable than locking employees up as part of hiring
For example, a non-compete is legally binding in California is if you sell your business to someone else. Then they can enforce an agreement against your starting a new business competing against the business you just sold them.
I knew California had banned them but I though it had happened a few decades ago at most.
If noncompetes hadn't been banned when California was such a young state, they probably never would have been. It was a time when a lot of things lined up to make it possible.
Interestingly, this also happened in North Dakota.
"Employers wishing to protect themselves from unfair competition in North Dakota should tread carefully."
It would be great to get these laws prohibitions of non-competes in more states. It is one of the main reasons I still live in the high cost of living/high taxed state of California.
Massachusetts recently almost banned them, California style, in response to the narrative that the Route 128 tech corridor could have been Silicon Valley were it not for enforceable noncompetes. The law was heavily watered down once industry lobbyists (especially from all the biotech companies) got done with it.
Still, it is a big improvement over the status quo. It limits time to one year, requires 50% compensation during the time when you can't work, and bans the most egregious abuses (noncompetes for minimum wage employees and so on).
They might refuse but the originating state companies have caught on and claim jurisdiction out of CA.
Why? I don't think they should apply to anyone.
And often when they do, they lose. But it’s a judgement call. I’d say the fear of non-competes has more power than the non-competes themselves.
You naively conflate "not biting" with "having no teeth".
Amazon forces all workers to sign non-competes. They only sue those who piss them off. Granted, a small minority. But that minority suffers a harrowing ordeal, typically losing their new job and their ability to work.
You better believe the rest are kept in line by the mere threat of such lawsuit, and the courts have enforced the non-compete in the cases Amazon did take legal action.
Although this makes me hate Jeff Bezos just a little bit more. Hope he loses it all in the divorce battle.
I think this statement minimizes the severity of being sued. The stress of a civil suit that threatens your long-term livelihood is a very big deal, daily uncertainty for prolonged period of times about important parts of your life can cause a lot of nasty health problems.
They don't have to sue, they just have to send a letter to the new firm. Or even worse the new firm just has to ask "did you sign a non-compete?"
I suppose I was lucky that the new company tried to negotiate a bit, but when my former employer refused to budge, they backed out. My lawyer had warned me that this could happen even before I accepted the job offer, right after he assured me that I would be on solid legal ground in taking the job. Admittedly, I didn't really think it would happen because why would they want to be known as the kind of company that does that? Even so, I've never regretted my decision to leave. As stressful as that was, staying would have been worse.
This is the reason why employers ask if you've signed a non-complete
Non-competes really only matter for people with exceptional knowledge of something.
From a business standpoint, the legal resources to build a case against a single “average person” who signs a generic non-compete are not a good investment.
But like I said, it’s a judgement call. Anyone in the possession of that exceptional knowledge should be able to determine the risk.
So who are the non-competes really for then?
They're for assuaging the corporate leadership that they are actually effective at managing that pesky turnover problem they've been having in a manner that doesn't require them to increase pay or improve working conditions. That and people who carry a "book of business" (the sales team) and those with critical expertise in certain, niche knowledge domains.
There was also an issue that resulted in state legal action where fast food workers were blackballed due to non-competes.
You're right that the fear has more power than the non-compete itself, but the reality then is that companies en masse employ a politics of fear in their contract language.
The CEO who had been threatening to sue me and the new company was removed in June, presumably for unrelated reasons. Last week, he announced that he was taking a job which _my_ noncompete certainly would have prohibited me from taking.
Now, I don't know if he had a noncompete with my former employer. Perhaps he was able to negotiate it away. Maybe he was granted permission. Maybe he'll get sued, but I think that's unlikely because they have to know the new company will have his back and that they don't stand a chance of winning.
Whatever the case, it shows who the system works for.
My current company tried to get me to sign a non compete by leaving it on my desk. I dropped it in a drawer and now everyone's forgot about it. No one is ever going to remember to get me to sign it. The main thing that weirded me out about this one is it also said I can't recommend that any of my current coworkers come work with me for something like 2 years after I leave the company.
They had a joke of a case. When they first threatened to sue after I'd given notice, the CEO told me he'd have to take legal action to set an example for the new company. Or as the head of HR put it "they can't take our best people." They made no mention of trade secrets or any other legitimate business interest that would have been required to enforce the agreement in court. Instead, the CEO said that they had a "basically an open and shut case" because I couldn't take my "work experience" to their "closest competitor," which is nonsense. Not to mention that people at both companies have told me the companies weren't even competitors.
But the new company withdrew the offer to avoid having to go to court, so the facts and the law didn't matter.
This is how non-competes work.
The legal threats almost scared me into staying, but then I thought about how miserable I would be if I went back there. The postponement of the promotion had been the least of my complaints, nothing else would be getting better, and I'd only be inviting further bullying in the future.
So I left. I didn't get sued because the new company dropped the offer before I started. I was unemployed for a couple of months and also spent a significant sum on a lawyer. The whole thing was expensive and stressful bordering on traumatic. But I've never regretted turning down the counteroffer.
It’s anti-employee to say “hey, after us you don’t get to go use the skills and experience you’ve worked so hard for because that would harm our profits.” Surely employees don’t enjoy the reciprocal benefit of a company not being able to fill their spot after they leave.
My hunch is that it is relatively small. I couldn't find the paper on a very small ratio of folks can flip a population's opinions. I seem to recall it being 5-10% but could be mistaken.
I've worked at several companies where management didn't seem to have any idea what was actually in the documents they asked their employees to sign, it was all just cookie-cutter boilerplate that they either found online, or that some company lawyer put in there without actually planning anything further.
No noncompete clause can go further than is reasonably necessary to protect a legitimate business interest, otherwise it is unenforceable. The burden of proof is on the employer.
No individual can be prevented from plying their trade by contract with another.
I'm amazed in the land of the free that any of these things could stand up in a court. It's like reintroducing indenture.
It ended with a weird hostage swap. The new company agreed to let one of their team go work for the company that was trying to enforce the non-compete. They also insisted my friend wasn’t allowed to work on customer facing projects for six months.
In effect, it came down to who had the most money for lawyers rather than anything else.
In practice, non-competes can cause enough hassle and financial pain in the UK that, unfortunately, individuals can be prevented from plying their trade. That burden of proof isn’t as clear cut, either.
None of them ever enforced them to my knowledge. Even ex-Dyson employees going to Shark. But the fact that they are allowed at all (and they are) is often enough to generate fear and doubt.
Some people leaving Dyson refused to name their new employees just to be safe.
They should be banned entirely.
In other words, your signature is on it, but you've never seen their signature on it.
(Company State = Texas... and I don't reside in Texas)
The general contract law principle is: if both parties have signed a contract, it is legally valid. Whether copies are possessed by only one party or both is inconsequential.
Exceptions are if the contract contains language mandating that both parties should receive a copy, or if there are specific laws regulating the form of such contracts.
A couple of suggestions for things you can tell them:
* you want to travel the world for a year and find yourself.
* you're going to start your own company. Maybe even register at the chamber of commerce and give them your card in case they want to hire you.
* you need to take care of a family member.
* you're burned out by this work and are going to work in retail or something.
* you've got the opportunity to turn your hobby into your work.
* you're going to move out of state/out of the country.
* it's none of their business. (Not a lie! But if they suck, it might make them suspicious and do some research.)
So, I ended up working for that company after grad school, for about 6 years. Then,,, a customer of that company (one that I worked with, and grew a favorable reputation with) offered me a nice package (2x salary offering, plus a RSU bonus account worth about $125k). I was not making that much at the original company for the market (about $72k). So, I jumped....
I gave my previous employer about 6 weeks notice, and documented all of my work, and did my best to transfer project ownership to other employees. I really liked all of the engineers I worked with and was attempting to stay in good graces.
Then, on my last day of work my boss calls me on the phone and screams at me for leaving the company. He flashes the NDA on the computer screen and highlights the non-competitor part of the agreement. Then, he has the gall to demand that I sign another agreement, saying that I am knowingly taking trade secrets with me..... Bull-shit, I'm not signing that I say. Then, I had to hire a lawyer and burn through the sign on bonus and relocation at the new company to move on. I ended up signing a version of that agreement, since my lawyer said we would have to take them to court to get out of it, and that I will be out after 18 months anyways.
The truth of the matter is, I could have fought it and may have won, since I made less then the threshold, but I just wanted to move on....
Now, I am really happy. I am finally making a living (comfortable) wage for me and my family, and will be taking a family vacation for the first time in years.
People move around, including to direct competitors. Tech companies in Silicon Valley need to deal with it because they can't prevent it. As a result, new companies are able to attract talent, people can leave their jobs to start new companies, etc. Companies raise workers' salaries to encourage them to stay.
After my last day I hired a lawyer to review the document. He was able to strike the part about me knowingly taking IP with me. He then advised me to sign the document, since court costs would be much more expensive.
How were you taking IP? Just the knowledge you had in your head? What a joke.
I prefer progress to perfect and I hope you feel the same.
This coming from someone who's former employer tried to enforce a NDA on me.
Edit: downvoted of course, but seriously under most cases the company will not pursue it and it was likely unenforceable in the first place. It's a scare tactic by employers and pretend control over their employees. They are bullshit. I'd like to hire an employee that flat out said "yeah I'm not signing that, it's bullshit" it shows they actually have a bit of grit regarding pointless non legally binding paperwork.
Law is supposed to exist so the strongest might not always get their way. The law totally and utterly fails when it comes to non-competes. There are incentives to abuse them and no meaningful consequences.
Cue the apologists working for the big silicon valley players...
Why? Silicon Valley is in California where noncompetes are illegal. Silicon Valley companies don't use them. I've been in Silicon Valley my entire career and I have never seen one or heard of anyone who has.
Who? Nobody with that username has posted anywhere in this entire thread as far as I can tell.
Everything that follows this is a subsequent edit.
I'm adding this bit for further explanation.
I was being criticised rather heavily for responding to what was written as it didn't look "Charitable" in the light of subsequent expansion. It's right there still if you care to look.
edit: this conversation thread has been completely de-railed by it. Was that the point? Who knows...
I don't plan to start adding those kinds of remarks when I edit a comment. I don't care if other people do this, I just don't see any value in it myself, and I'm just as happy if people simply edit their comments without calling special attention to the edit. I'm not following the history of their comment, I'm just reading it at the moment I read it.
Of course if people have replied to a comment, and a subsequent edit changes the meaning of the comment so the replies don't make sense any more, that is a different story and deserves an "edit" remark.
I hope we can remain friends, OK?
1. They quoted the portion of your comment relevant to their response,
2. They explained in a straightforward and neutral way why what you said in the quoted portion doesn't really make sense,
3. You responded without any specifics about what you're not following,
4. You assumed they simply failed to understand you.
Now, I think the part you didn't follow is this: you tried to preempt noncompete "apologists" working at large tech companies in California. However as a rule, such companies generally do not (and cannot) rely on noncompetes, which means what you're saying isn't applicable. Further, the merits of your original point notwithstanding, it's also kind of dismissive to call those on the other side of the argument "apologists" in the way you did.
Unless the employee in question is unable to use Google and search for "non compete california", which, I'd hope every tech worker is able to use Google, the zeroth (meaning, it's right on the search results page, and not a link away, it states "In the state of California, non-compete agreements that seek to prohibit employees from obtaining gainful employment are null and void."
This situation is real and I've seen it happen more than once.
The cartel was broken around 2010 and that (together with options expensing) have led to the compensations growth from $150K back then to $400K+ today. If anything the FB, Google, etc are driving everybody's wages up today.