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December 03, 2007


lawyers always revert to broad language. and the company lawyer has way more strength than the new employees does. That's the problem.

i'm specifically not opposed to NDA, confidentiality or trade secrets. Those are different issues.

Never seen a truly narrow non-compete agreement. Typically what I see is either no agreement, or else one that essentially says "we own every thought that passes through your head beginning five years before you came here and ending ten years after you leave, whether or not said thoughts pertain in any way to our business, and once you leave you'll have to change professions or move to Mongolia, because if you ever work in your own field in America or Europe again, we'll sue you into destitution". And I've never in my life been offered any kind of guaranteed severance package by either type of employer. (In fact, the only time I've ever gotten any kind of severance was at a company with NO noncompete least none for people in my team.)

More than a few otherwise-good job offers were spoiled by my response to such terms. Indeed, it's the major reason I'm an entrepreneur instead of an employee.

You want me to agree not to divulge insider information if I leave? Sure, no problem. Want to own everything I write under instructions from management on company time? Only fair.

Want me to risk plunging myself into poverty if you wake up one morning and decide I'm not the guy for you? Want me to sign over the royalties on the novel I might actually finish one day? Want to take over the software I wrote in 1993 and still have paying clients for?

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