If your next (or new) employer asks you to sign a noncompete agreement, take at least the following steps:
1. Ask the employer to modify the language so the noncompete lasts no more than 6 months to 1 year and is limited to actual, existing clients with whom you have direct contact.
2. Ask the employer to provide you with severance benefits (maybe a percentage of your salary) for one-half of the time you are prevented from working as a competitor under the noncompete agreement.
If your new employer is unwilling to treat you fairly on the front end of the relationship…you can bet they will be difficult on the back end.