Suicidal glory is the luxury of the irresponsible. We’re not giving up. We’re waiting for a better opportunity. (Bujold)
Take this job and shove it — your view
“The non compete is never enforced. I’m not worried if they find out where I am going.”
A very real guy I know said that to his new boss. He went back and bragged to his old coworkers about the new job.
He got a phone call from his old company’s lawyer. Guess what? They are enforcing the non compete. If he fought it, he very well might beat it. But during the ensuing battle he couldn’t work. So he is staying.
What do you think his career path looks like now?
Resignation should always be done with a simple letter stating:
I appreciate the opportunity I have had to work for XYZ Company. I am resigning my position effective <date>.
Don’t say where you are going. Don’t brag to your coworkers. Don’t even admit which state or industry you will be in.
No non compete clause in your contract? You should resign the same way.
You may be accused of bringing trade secrets to the new employer. They may not be able to stop you, but they can still cause you and your new company pain in the courts.
Resigning should always be done the same way. Simply and quietly. Gloating is never a good idea.
Don’t quit today unless you already have a new job. Then quit in a short professional letter of resignation. Practice avoiding questions about where you are going to work.
Nothing more completely baffles one who is full of trick and duplicity than straightforward and simple integrity in another. (Colton)
For a year Jim did a two hour commute-one way, every day. What a horrible thought. He did it to get out of a non compete agreement. Do you think he will ever sign another one?
Lawyers in Pennsylvania are expressly prohibited by law from having non competes for lawyers. Lawyers say it is unfair to do that to lawyers and their clients. A lawyer leaving a law firm SHOULD be allowed to steal clients. So why do non competes apply to everyone else?
There are reasons to sign a broadly applicable non compete agreement:
- You will be trained from total ignorance to blinding expertise and will be paid lavishly with a guarantee of 1 year of pay after you are fired or quit.
Not a long list. Is it?
Here’s a list reasons to sign a limited non compete agreement:
- You will learn crucial trade secrets
- You might steal customers or employees
- You will receive some training and the costs need to be repaid
A simple non compete clause is the most dangerous. You can be barred from every job in an industry or area if your contract only says, “You will not compete.” Make sure any contract you sign clearly states what specific things you are not allowed to do. It should list:
- A reasonable period of time that you cannot compete (never more than a year)
- A precise group you are not allowed to work for or call on
- Specific jobs you cannot do for someone else
- A geographic area it applies to (within 35 or 50 miles of where you worked)
If you don’t like a contract, change it. Cross out sections and write in the margins. Initial the changes. Handwritten changes on a contract take precedence over the typeset text.
Take control. You want a job, not a prison. You need freedom to take another job in order to make this one worthwhile. Have the guts to change a contract that is too restrictive. You will be surprised how often your changes are accepted. If they are not accepted, leave. Value your freedom.
Time to gossip. Ask people you know or strangers you meet at bars or the gym about non compete agreements. Get them to tell you horror stories they have heard of. You will be appalled. It is an education you need.
This is a great summary of what happens in the typical hard fought non-compete case. But look closely. This really says it could arbitrarily have swung either way.