Stupid non-compete clauses


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Today I had to turn down the single most lucrative contract I'd ever seen. A 4 year gig that worked out to nearly 7 figures all told. The only catch was that it included a 6-year no-compete clause covering the entire US, Germany, the UK and Australia, forbidding me from working in "any industry" in "any technical capacity".

    I told them that they'd either have to remove the non-compete clause or extend my payment to all 10 years. They offered to take the initial 4 year's payment and stretch it out across 10 years. While that's more than I currently make, it wouldn't have been an acceptable solution IMO if they were offering me a TEN million dollars over 10 years, because I'd likely never make meaningful money in IT again after a 6 year absence.

     

    But they weren't budging, so I had to tell them where to shove their contract. I'm well aware it never would have been enforceable, but spending all my lucrative gains on legal expenses just makes it all the more distasteful.



  • For an extra million dollars? You could've worked those six years in Canada.



  • @AuraSeer said:

    You could've worked those six years in Canada.
     

    ... or in a non-technical capacity?



  •  @Weng said:

    The only catch was that it included a 6-year no-compete clause covering the entire US, Germany, the UK and Australia, forbidding me from working in "any industry" in "any technical capacity".

     Are you sure that's what it said? What did your lawyer say?



  • Wait ...

    You can have no-compete clauses that go outside the range of time that you're employed

    I'll read my contract from top to bottom three times when I sign up next time !

    Sucks to be you !



  • Wikipedia has an article on non-compete: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-compete_clause

    Germans give max 2 years, and employer must pay at least half the salary during the noncompete period. All in all, looks like its harder to make non compete stick in Europe, but legal expenses would probably make the point moot :/




  • @pkmnfrk said:

     @Weng said:

    The only catch was that it included a 6-year no-compete clause covering the entire US, Germany, the UK and Australia, forbidding me from working in "any industry" in "any technical capacity".

     Are you sure that's what it said? What did your lawyer say?

    For that amount of money I'd be getting reports from multiple lawyers.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @OzPeter said:

    For that amount of money I'd be getting reports from multiple lawyers.
    This.

     

    I did run it by a lawyer, and his opinion was "It's unenforceable, just ignore it". But this whole thing smells really bad. They're a defense contractor. Boatloads of money, the most draconian and illegal contract I've ever read, and they weren't disclosing ANY details about the project - or hell, anything about the working environment. They just regurgitated the same boilerplate that's on the 'careers' page of their website. They even refused to disclose if I'd have to relocate. So naturally I had to assume the worst - they were going to relocate me to a shack in the Alaskan wilderness, or maybe Baghdad if I'm lucky; I'd be working on the kill-all-humans mechanism on the Skynet project, and I'd be found dead at the end of my contract in an apparent suicide, when only a day earlier I'd been THINKING about getting a job at some ghetto webdesign firm.

     

    But honestly, if it weren't for that attempt at a no-compete clause, I'd have taken the risk. Oddly there was no penalty for failure to deliver or early termination (probably because I'd be alone in an Alaskan wilderness shack with no means to contact the outside world to get home if I wanted to quit)



  • @Weng said:

    @OzPeter said:

    For that amount of money I'd be getting reports from multiple lawyers.
    This.

     

    I did run it by a lawyer, and his opinion was "It's unenforceable, just ignore it". But this whole thing smells really bad. They're a defense contractor. Boatloads of money, the most draconian and illegal contract I've ever read, and they weren't disclosing ANY details about the project - or hell, anything about the working environment. They just regurgitated the same boilerplate that's on the 'careers' page of their website. They even refused to disclose if I'd have to relocate. So naturally I had to assume the worst - they were going to relocate me to a shack in the Alaskan wilderness, or maybe Baghdad if I'm lucky; I'd be working on the kill-all-humans mechanism on the Skynet project, and I'd be found dead at the end of my contract in an apparent suicide, when only a day earlier I'd been THINKING about getting a job at some ghetto webdesign firm.

     

    But honestly, if it weren't for that attempt at a no-compete clause, I'd have taken the risk. Oddly there was no penalty for failure to deliver or early termination (probably because I'd be alone in an Alaskan wilderness shack with no means to contact the outside world to get home if I wanted to quit)

    Wow i think you just found my dream job!.  Seriously for 7 figures I'd do it and then move to toronto or montreal after.  Hell they might even have had another you could jump on at the end of your contract.  And besides worst case scenario you get to travel around the world acting all mysterious while some guy named boris chases after you. 


  • Non-compete clauses - Video and share it all

    An old guy would take the job. Copy everything and then be saved from going to the Old Folks Home. I've always hated that non-compete stuff. Learn it, hoard it, then share it. Be brave. Hidden knowledge is usually bad for human kind. Just think if all public companies books were open. (not a big task today) Anybody could then spot the guys that stole Billions of dollars in the market. Talk about transfer of wealth. Transfer that knowledge. When they are this sneaky keep an eye on them. Video anybody that comes after you and put them up on YouTube.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

     ....

    Did SpectateSwamp just tell me to use his "software" to commit treason?



  • ^^
    That guy is still around??
    I thought there was some kind of M.A.D. thing set up in the MPS / SS troll wars...



  • Computers can't keep secrets - they're gossips

    @Weng said:

     ....

    Did SpectateSwamp just tell me to use his "software" to commit treason?

    Crimes against humanity is a worse charge than treason. Most of those politicians and BIG businessmen are being secretive to screw the rest of us. Man that was stupid keeping those informant names on computer. If somebody besides wikileaks got that info. Those people would have ended up dead and nobody would know why. Nothing on a computer should be considered secret or copy protected. NOTHING


  • @SpectateSwamp said:

    Nothing on a computer should be considered secret or copy protected. NOTHING
     

    I think Spectate had a bad experience in his life where he managed to somehow attain a girlfriend or even a wife, and she was having a secret affair. Spectate was pissed that she was keeping her emails from him and after he finally found out what happened, he proclaimed that nothing should ever be kept secret on a computer.

    What you fail to realize, Spectate, is there are a lot of things that are damn good to keep secret, like saved bank statements and confident emails (not just business related, but family related; your sister probably doesn't want everyone else to know her embarrassing medical condition that she's confided in you via email). Politics and business could use some more transparency, but that doesn't mean we open everybody's computers up and share every last piece of information in them with the world.



  • @RHuckster said:

    @SpectateSwamp said:

    Nothing on a computer should be considered secret or copy protected. NOTHING
     

    I think Spectate had a bad experience in his life where he managed to somehow attain a girlfriend or even a wife, and she was having a secret affair. Spectate was pissed that she was keeping her emails from him and after he finally found out what happened, he proclaimed that nothing should ever be kept secret on a computer.

    What you fail to realize, Spectate, is there are a lot of things that are damn good to keep secret, like saved bank statements and confident emails (not just business related, but family related; your sister probably doesn't want everyone else to know her embarrassing medical condition that she's confided in you via email). Politics and business could use some more transparency, but that doesn't mean we open everybody's computers up and share every last piece of information in them with the world.

     

    Whoa, whoa, hold it guys, please. We already have a second 1000+ posts thread for that guy. Do we really need a third one?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @SpectateSwamp said:

    If somebody besides wikileaks got that info. Those people would have ended up dead and nobody would know why.
    This statement leads me to believe that SS honestly believes that publicly publishing information instantly protects it from misuse. I find it cute in a techno-hippie information-yearns-to-be-free kind of way. 

     

    Oh, and SpectateSwamp, I'm keeping plenty of information secret just to screw you. You personally.



  • @PSWorx said:

    Whoa, whoa, hold it guys, please. We already have a second 1000+ posts thread for that guy. Do we really need a third one?
     

    No.



  • @Weng said:

    I did run it by a lawyer, and his opinion was "It's unenforceable, just ignore it". But this whole thing smells really bad. They're a defense contractor. Boatloads of money, the most draconian and illegal contract I've ever read, and they weren't disclosing ANY details about the project - or hell, anything about the working environment. They just regurgitated the same boilerplate that's on the 'careers' page of their website. They even refused to disclose if I'd have to relocate. So naturally I had to assume the worst - they were going to relocate me to a shack in the Alaskan wilderness, or maybe Baghdad if I'm lucky; I'd be working on the kill-all-humans mechanism on the Skynet project, and I'd be found dead at the end of my contract in an apparent suicide, when only a day earlier I'd been THINKING about getting a job at some ghetto webdesign firm.

    This reminds me of the speech in Good Will Hunting.

    More seriously, I was about to call you an idiot for refusing a position based on a completely unenforceable (and in most locales, illegal) clause in a contract. But given the other stuff you're telling us about the position, maybe you made the right choice.

    Don't focus on the non-compete clause, focus on the "apparent suicide" part.



  • You really turned down almost $1,000,000 without spending $200 on advice from a real lawyer? Really?


     

     



  • @Rick said:

    You really turned down almost $1,000,000 without spending $200 on advice from a real lawyer? Really?


     

     


    Nope. Read the whole thread.



  • Just to hijack the whole thread I had a different experience with a job application this week. Over a week ago I applied for a job I saw on Monster. The adv. didn't specify the company but from what they wrote it was a really good fit and in my local area.

    Monday morning at 9AM I got a voicemail on my cell phone from the company themselves saying that they were interested in me (and also what the name of the company was). The local area instantly turned into a 60 minute commute each way down a congested freeway. As I was so busy on Monday I decided to put the return call off until Tuesday to give me time to be relaxed and to scope out the company.

    So I call on Tuesday and the HR person starts out by saying that he didn't think that I was interested in the job as I didn't respond immediately to his call. This set me going WTF?!?!!? in my head. Then after he digs around a bit and finds my resume the first question he asks is what my salary expectations are. At this point I'm not to impressed with the HR guy and the possibility of a long commute (yeah I know that other people have longer commutes) I come out with a figure that is pretty much in the middle of the range for my field and experience. Just an average package, nothing special. At which point the HR guy basically says there is no point in continuing as they were not going to pay that amount, and he wasn't even interested in negotiating. I was flabbergasted to hear that and ask what they were thinking of paying given that my amount was so far out of their range. He then nominated a figure that was $10K to $15K lower than my figure - which put it at an absurdly low value. But the kicker was that he let slip that I wasn't the first person who wasn't interested in what they were paying.



  • I'd be curious to see how often companies enforce these.  I can't imagine they are anything more than a scare tactic in 99.9% of cases beacuse of how unenforcable most of them are.



  • @Rick said:

    You really turned down almost $1,000,000 without spending $200 on advice from a real lawyer? Really?

    Please sir, I need your help. I have inherited ten million dollar, but I have to make a deposit of 200 dollar to swiss bank account to get. If you can send the dollar, I will give you a million for thanks of help. I CANNOT GIVE YOU THE MILLION DOLLAR BEFORE YOU SEND. Thanks you.

    Very sincerely,
    Dr. Thomas Nwani



  • Non compete - Non Disclosure is bad - very bad

    @Weng said:

    @SpectateSwamp said:

    If somebody besides wikileaks got that info. Those people would have ended up dead and nobody would know why.
    This statement leads me to believe that SS honestly believes that publicly publishing information instantly protects it from misuse. I find it cute in a techno-hippie information-yearns-to-be-free kind of way. 

     

    Oh, and SpectateSwamp, I'm keeping plenty of information secret just to screw you. You personally.

    I bet that is why those folks in Bell City, got away with those huge paychecks. They had non disclosure clauses at the city and at the banks where they delt. Somebody will go to jail for ratting out those scumbags. I say disclose em with YouTube videos. Right from the assistant manager on down to the secretary at the front desk and don't forget their bankers. Disclose disclose disclose. Scumbags like keeping their business secret. Top Secret. and the low-life lawyers help them.

    Besides it goes against my Sharing Knowledge credo.



  • @OzPeter said:

    So I call on Tuesday and the HR person starts out by saying that he didn't think that I was interested in the job as I didn't respond immediately to his call. This set me going WTF?!?!!? in my head. Then after he digs around a bit and finds my resume the first question he asks is what my salary expectations are. At this point I'm not to impressed with the HR guy and the possibility of a long commute (yeah I know that other people have longer commutes) I come out with a figure that is pretty much in the middle of the range for my field and experience. Just an average package, nothing special. At which point the HR guy basically says there is no point in continuing as they were not going to pay that amount, and he wasn't even interested in negotiating. I was flabbergasted to hear that and ask what they were thinking of paying given that my amount was so far out of their range. He then nominated a figure that was $10K to $15K lower than my figure - which put it at an absurdly low value. But the kicker was that he let slip that I wasn't the first person who wasn't interested in what they were paying.

     

    Welcome to the current job market.  Yep, they're all like that.  I've also heard stories that if you don't answer the phone (letting it go to voicemail), they cross you off the list and go on to the next guy.  So in a way, you're lucky the dude even talked to you.  I once had an HR person - after a successful phone interview - leave a message on my voicemail saying that she wanted to set up a face to face.  She never answered the phone when I called her back (three times over the week) and never returned my calls.  It's also standard procedure these days to demand your salary requirements almost before saying hello, so there's no room for negotiation based on qualifications after that.



  • @Faxmachinen said:

    @Rick said:

    You really turned down almost $1,000,000 without spending $200 on advice from a real lawyer? Really?

    Please sir, I need your help. I have inherited ten million dollar, but I have to make a deposit of 200 dollar to swiss bank account to get. If you can send the dollar, I will give you a million for thanks of help. I CANNOT GIVE YOU THE MILLION DOLLAR BEFORE YOU SEND. Thanks you.

    Very sincerely,
    Dr. Thomas Nwani

    I once knew someone whose dad had moved to Nigeria on retirement. Eventually passed away, as people do, and the son attended the funeral and then returned to the UK. Some months later, a registered letter turns up on his doorstep from the Nigerian solicitors dealing with the will, inquiring why he hasn't responded to their emails regarding the money he has inherited...


  • @Weng said:

    Today I had to turn down the single most lucrative contract I'd ever seen. A 4 year gig that worked out to nearly 7 figures all told. The only catch was that it included a 6-year no-compete clause covering the entire US, Germany, the UK and Australia, forbidding me from working in "any industry" in "any technical capacity".

    I told them that they'd either have to remove the non-compete clause or extend my payment to all 10 years. They offered to take the initial 4 year's payment and stretch it out across 10 years. While that's more than I currently make, it wouldn't have been an acceptable solution IMO if they were offering me a TEN million dollars over 10 years, because I'd likely never make meaningful money in IT again after a 6 year absence.

     

    But they weren't budging, so I had to tell them where to shove their contract. I'm well aware it never would have been enforceable, but spending all my lucrative gains on legal expenses just makes it all the more distasteful.

    WTF??? Dude, just say yes and move to Thailand or Perú or something. With that amount of money you could live like a king for a decade, and still have money to invest in some other profitable business.



  • @ltouroumov said:

    You can have no-compete clauses that go outside the range of time that you're employed
    Generally that's the point of a noncompete clause.  That you won't go out and work for a direct competitor right after leaving the company.  For instance, if you had intimate knowledge of how Acme textiles wove their fabrics, they wouldn't want you to go to Bacme fabrics and share all their secrets.  You have to wait two years to do that.

    That said, non competes aren't there to fuck over the employees.  They're there to protect the business.  They're not there to make you unemployable, unlike the OP.

    Inevitably, someone wants to come in and correct something I've said now.  Go ahead.  I'm not perfect.



  • @PSWorx said:

    Whoa, whoa, hold it guys, please. We already have a second 1000+ posts thread for that guy. Do we really need a third one?
    That actually is the third.

    Back in the day we had two 2000 (IIRC) post threads.  



  • @belgariontheking said:

    @ltouroumov said:

    You can have no-compete clauses that go outside the range of time that you're employed
    Generally that's the point of a noncompete clause.  That you won't go out and work for a direct competitor right after leaving the company.  For instance, if you had intimate knowledge of how Acme textiles wove their fabrics, they wouldn't want you to go to Bacme fabrics and share all their secrets.  You have to wait two years to do that.

    That said, non competes aren't there to f*ck over the employees.  They're there to protect the business.  They're not there to make you unemployable, unlike the OP.

    Inevitably, someone wants to come in and correct something I've said now.  Go ahead.  I'm not perfect.

     

    When I have had to deal with this issue, the non-compete was written too broad, including not only direct competitors, but also including any company that did business with the company I would be working for. 

    My lawyer advised me that because the non-compete was for only 6 months after the end of the employment that it might be enforceable. I followed my lawyers advise and declined to sign that contract and a day later they sent me a contract that was acceptable. Apparently, a non-compete may be unenforceable if it is BOTH too broad and too long.

    Since you asked for a correction, here it is. Non-competes are written by humans, they can be written as you stated to reasonable protect a company, but they could also be written to unreasonable cover much more than the company needs protecting.



  • for 7 years my former employer kept saying he was going to have everyone sign non-disclosure and non-compete agreements.  Never did.  Could care less as I would never work in that industry again, much less start a company in that industry.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @fatdog said:

    WTF??? Dude, just say yes and move to Thailand or Perú or something. With that amount of money you could live like a king for a decade, and still have money to invest in some other profitable business.
    I need my work to keep my hobbies from driving me insane.

     

    If I didn't have to work for 6 years, that would mean I could (and on account of the aforementioned insanity) WOULD go full bore into that hobby. 25 weekends a year, $5000 average expense per weekend.  Over those 6 years, I'd burn more than 3 quarters of the million I'd made just on that. Mind you, that much experience at this particular hobby would probably put me in a position to net a paying job doing it, or at a minimum something related.

     

    .... WHY AM I CONSIDERING THIS?



  • @Weng said:

    @fatdog said:

    WTF??? Dude, just say yes and move to Thailand or Perú or something. With that amount of money you could live like a king for a decade, and still have money to invest in some other profitable business.
    I need my work to keep my hobbies from driving me insane.

     

    If I didn't have to work for 6 years, that would mean I could (and on account of the aforementioned insanity) WOULD go full bore into that hobby. 25 weekends a year, $5000 average expense per weekend.  Over those 6 years, I'd burn more than 3 quarters of the million I'd made just on that. Mind you, that much experience at this particular hobby would probably put me in a position to net a paying job doing it, or at a minimum something related.

     

    .... WHY AM I CONSIDERING THIS?

     

    because of the previously mentioned insanity?



  • @Weng said:

    If I didn't have to work for 6 years, that would mean I could (and on account of the aforementioned insanity) WOULD go full bore into that hobby. 25 weekends a year, $5000 average expense per weekend.  Over those 6 years, I'd burn more than 3 quarters of the million I'd made just on that. Mind you, that much experience at this particular hobby would probably put me in a position to net a paying job doing it, or at a minimum something related.
     

    I was going to guess trainspotting (the insanity is a good fit) but $5000 a weekend sounds a bit expecting.

    Is it coked-up trainspotting with hookers?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Race driving. I compete in a national series with 25 events in a year all over the country - so that $5k covers fees, wear and tear, the occasional obliteration of a car, consumables, bribery for codrivers and crew as needed, and fuel to lug the car and some sleeping accomodations around the country willy nilly. Trainspotting is for pansies.





  • @Weng said:

    If I didn't have to work for 6 years, that would mean I could (and on account of the aforementioned insanity) WOULD go full bore into that hobby. 25 weekends a year, $5000 average expense per weekend.  Over those 6 years, I'd burn more than 3 quarters of the million I'd made just on that. Mind you, that much experience at this particular hobby would probably put me in a position to net a paying job doing it, or at a minimum something related.

     

    .... WHY AM I CONSIDERING THIS?

    Tornado chaser?

    Chubby chaser?  (need that much alcohol to forget about it by the time 14 days rolls around and it's time to do it again).

    d'oh!  you already answered.  Whatever



  • @Weng said:

    Trainspotting is for pansies.
     

    You've obviously never been to Darlington station in the north east of England.

     



  • @Weng said:

    Race driving. I compete in a national series with 25 events in a year all over the country - so that $5k covers fees, wear and tear, the occasional obliteration of a car, consumables, bribery for codrivers and crew as needed, and fuel to lug the car and some sleeping accomodations around the country willy nilly. Trainspotting is for pansies.

    LeMons? ChumpCar? That sounds like a good retirement to me...



  • @RTapeLoadingError said:

    @Weng said:

    Trainspotting is for pansies.
     

    You've obviously never been to Darlington station in the north east of England.

     

     

    I suspect that the compiler might optimize it out of existence anyway. 



  • @Helix said:

    @RTapeLoadingError said:

    @Weng said:

    Trainspotting is for pansies.
     

    You've obviously never been to Darlington station in the north east of England.

     

    I suspect that the compiler might optimize it out of existence anyway. 

     

    "Attention passengers: This train will terminate with an unhandled exception"


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

     @filet0fish said:

    LeMons? ChumpCar? That sounds like a good retirement to me...

    I'm a Lemon pilot, mechanic and future owner (because I have the dubious distinction of having been the first person to wreck our current car, and our deal is that the first person to break it buys the next one).


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