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Turnabout is fair play. If they pretend a clause is non-negotiable, call their bluff by asking for fair compensation. "Sure thing! That means I will be off the job market for one year, so I will require an unconditional severance payment of one year's salary. If my employment ends before an agreed-upon period, neither the severance payment or the non-compete will be binding." I'd only consider this kind of hard negotiation for mercenary jobs. If you're joining a normal company as a normal employee and they stonewall you on reasonable concerns, take it as a sign and walk away, as you seem to have done.



If everyone is aware of these clauses, their implications, and their enforceability (in the hypothetical world where computer workers have any sort of group that represents and publicizes their interests as workers), they'll end up priced into wages as long as employers don't collude.




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