Start by reading this article about the Impact of Non-Compete Agreements on Employees.
I know you signed one a few years ago.
I know this because you:
1. Live in Virginia
2. Work as a consultant
3. Somehow are tied to the Feds
So I know you signed a non-compete. And I bet that when you signed it, you thought it wasn’t really binding and so you didn’t worry.
Am I right?
Well, sadly, you were wrong. They are often binding under Virginia law. Often. And they can have a negative affect on you personally, and professionally.
According to Professor Matthew Marx (who wrote the above article and conducted a most relevant study on Non-compete agreements in technology fields) of MIT:
“For workers bound by non-compete agreements, the consequences are serious, according to my research, for which I surveyed 1,029 engineers, who were initially randomly selected from a variety of high-tech fields. I also conducted separate in-depth interviews with 52 people who have worked on voice-recognition technology, a field in which I once worked. The overall finding is that nearly one-third of tech workers who sign non-compete agreements end up in entirely different industries when they take their subsequent jobs. And in many cases, these workers stopped applying specific skills they had developed — often after obtaining a PhD — and took pay cuts. In short, these people take a career detour, they sometimes earn less money, they lose touch with their colleagues, and their skills atrophy.”
Thank you for taking the time to look into this issue.
So my advice remains the same.
They are valid. They are not good. Don’t sign one. If you did sign one get advice before you make a leap.