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You should probably quit.

You're probably right, but these kinds of insane, all-encompassing non-compete clauses are pretty common in most large corporations (at least in my understanding), and if I were to leave I'd be sacrificing all my stock grants and the like. There's no point in me quitting if I don't think I can get something better.

I could of course go to a startup or something, but I have a wife in school and a mortgage to pay. I don't really mind upheaving my life to take a bit of a risk on a startup, but I think it might be a bit selfish if there's a risk of it causing problems for other people.

There may be many that have non-competes, but I think you will find that many of them would allow blogging (or at least be willing to make an exception). Stopping engineers from blogging is typically not the reason they have the non-compete.

Alternatively you could try to convince your employer to add an exception to the non-compete. It's not unthinkable that they would allow it, if it's just for blogging.

They make it pretty clear that I need to get approval to do anything code-related outside of work. I had to go through a ton of forms to get permission to teach coding at a public library here.

That said, you're not wrong; I probably could harass someone to be allowed to blog, but after being declined twice from contributing to open source (both taking around 4-5 hours of talking to legal teams and managers), I'm just a bit burnt out from the experiences.

I should probably find another job once a bit more stock vests.

The trick is declining to sign them, provided you have enough tact to do so in a way that doesn't signal that you're hard to work with in general.

Any reason why you couldn’t renegotiate your contract? I’m sure you could frame it in a non threatening way and get the bit that bothers you redefined

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