I will admit it. I have signed agreements and not read them fully. Like credit card contracts or cell phone agreements. I am not proud of this fact, but truthfully, consumer contracts seem so impersonal that I have always assumed the terms were not negotiable and really, pretty harsh.
But a professional who is given an employment agreement should not handle that contract the same way.
Rather, I would recommend the following:
1. Read it.
2. Ask Questions.
3. Have an attorney (licensed in the state where the contract was written and/or where the choice of law provision dictates) review it.
4. Try to negotiate it.
5. Keep a copy when you sign in.
6. When you change jobs, have the agreement reviewed again.
7. Plan accordingly.
A head-in-the-sand approach will not help you when it comes to a personal services contract, nor will it help you when you finally make plans to do something different, something better and bigger.
Currently each state law is different regarding the enforcement and legality of non-competition agreements. And the law is changing so I review 8 years ago may not provide any insight today.
Please read and understand and respect contracts you have signed. They are popping up in all professions. My plumber has one, hair dresser had one, pet-sitters, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, tattoo artists, funeral directors, financial planners, accountants, they are everywhere.