I keep hearing about this Amazon thing. Maybe some day I will try it.

Noncompete clauses

Hacker News thread, about 95% of the posts say that noncompete clauses are a non-issue, you just underline the clauses that want removed / changed, and company's legal department will readily modify the document in your favor. Silly you for failing to do this simple move.

There's just one comment that sais common sense but it'll probably be soon downvoted or plain banned:

"Neat, but in practice it doesn't work. In my ~20 years experience, I've found that while things like salary and vacation are negotiable, the terms in tech employment contracts are not negotiable.
I've tried that cute "strike out the stuff in your employment agreement that you don't agree to" move, and in ALL cases, received a stern note from the corporate legal department a few days later basically saying "Sign it unmodified or GTFO." I don't know who all you Captains Of Industry are who have the power to negotiate these things, but I've found employees basically have no ability to change them. "
Permalink Io 
May 15th, 2017 7:00am
+1

The larger the firm, the less strict they will be about certain policies.

Pro tip: in many countries (e.g. the UK) you gotta be paid something for the non-compete period in order for the non-compete clause to be legally enforceable. It doesn't mean you have to be paid your full salary for the period, though. So you can always try to negotiate your pay during the non-compete period, they should be more flexible about that.
Permalink Yoda 
May 15th, 2017 7:04am
Why is it hard to negotiate away a non-compete clause?

Your leverage in the negotiations with a prospective employer comes from the fact that they see you as an attractive asset and don't want to lose you. But the same things which make you an attractive asset (skills, work ethic, experience, intelligence) will cause them to be unwilling to give up on the non-compete.

So your negotiating options are usually limited to how long the non-compete will last and how much you'll get paid for sitting on the bench.

In the end, come on - who wouldn't want to have a fully paid 3 months vacation?
Permalink Yoda 
May 15th, 2017 7:07am
Depends on the non-compete. The fuckers I worked for had people give up *everything* they worked on, during or outside work hours, within the employer's domain or not. And the sheeple happily signed them, I was the only one opposing some resistance, with the obvious response "sign it or GTFO". Eventually I GTFO-ed.

Also, "within domain" is too broad. "Finance" or "mathematics" are huge areas. Again, the fuckers were doing some lame accounting software. Had zero to do with profitable trading strategies, yet it's still finance. Front office it's not back office, even for a very broad interpretation of back office.
Permalink Io 
May 15th, 2017 7:26am
"Depends on the non-compete. The fuckers I worked for had people give up *everything* they worked on, during or outside work hours, within the employer's domain or not."

That's not non-compete, that's an IP clause. I had to request amendments to the IP clause once to exclude my private research, and got it. But it was a small company.
Permalink Yoda 
May 15th, 2017 7:42am
I've found the LARGER the firm, the LESS they are willing to compromise on small things like IP rules and non-compete clauses.

In a large firm, that sort of thing is run by HR and Corporate.  "Sign or GTFO" is their go-to policy.  After all, THEY are <insert large corp here> while YOU are just "<new hire>".

If you're lucky, they'll let you sign a paper detailing work and inventions you did BEFORE you got hired that are exempt from the clause.

On the other hand, I believe most IP and non-compete clauses are simply there so IF you make a billion dollars on a side-project while working for them, they can sue your ass for some of the proceeds.

In other words, 99% of the time it makes no difference.
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
May 15th, 2017 8:22am
>> most IP and non-compete clauses are simply there so IF you make a billion dollars on a side-project while working for them, they can sue your ass for some of the proceeds.

Exactly. 99.9% of the cases you won't get any support from the corporation (read: your managers) for a side project, on the contrary. Corporate middle manager manual lists the usual sequence in case you notice an employee has a side project: ignore, isolate, threaten, fire. And if somehow it becomes successful before the last action, take ownership.
Permalink Io 
May 15th, 2017 8:46am
Just don't get noticed.

If you see it having a chance to succeed, quit your job and pretend you wrote all that code in 2 months.

Tough, I know.

You could also run the business via a proxy (e.g. your spouse). That requires a level of trust not all people enjoy in a relationship.
Permalink Yoda 
May 15th, 2017 9:03am
> Pro tip: in many countries (e.g. the UK) you gotta be paid something for the non-compete period in order for the non-compete clause to be legally enforceable.

In past jobs I was lead into a room to sign a revised employee contract, and was handed a $1 US bill when I was seated to sign. Compensation for agreeing to the contract.

A lot of truth telling in this thread. What I've experienced:

> The larger the firm, the less strict they will be about certain policies.

That didn't make sense to me either, but I see it this way as an explanation:

In a really small company, the owner and/or partners will tend to be douches or control freaks who take such things highly personally.

A larger business may be very objective, assess whether making an exception in your case is expedient for them, and perhaps allow the deletion of clauses. Big companies DO tend to be rock-solid inflexible but some have pragmatic local control.

A small business where the owner has a feudal lord mentality - characterizes 95% of the small businesses here in the Ohio valley - will start abusing you as being a piece of shit who doesn't know a good thing when they found it and as you attempting to steal from them.

I've gotten that kind of message in negotiating with small businesses.
Permalink Bored Bystander 
May 15th, 2017 12:18pm
>> A small business where the owner has a feudal lord mentality - characterizes 95% of the small businesses here in the Ohio valley - will start abusing you as being a piece of shit who doesn't know a good thing when they found it and as you attempting to steal from them.

BB, you might have just turned on the light here. The worthless piece of shit Romanian company that abused me in the past 10 years was something I thought I escaped after being abused by a worthless piece of shit German company some 5 years before. I kinda reckoned 15 years ago that *I MUST AVOID SMALL BUSSINESSES*.
Permalink Io 
May 15th, 2017 12:24pm
By the way, I had my first quant interview on Friday and it sucked.

First as in 2 years since I'm sending CVs to the UK, EU, Asia and US, I got smart enough to figure out I've a high chance these internal HR guys won't reject me, won't talk me in Indian trying to sell me in numbers to an anonymous sweatshop in London, won't ask me about things I never pointed in my CV (finance != HFT). Would have been too much to have asked them to read my CV, GitHub and cover letter, but at least they asked me math questions!! Which I failed successfully and reinforce my knowledge that these PhD-enabled frontline middle officers have no idea. Which says, given what I know anout the fuckers who employed me, that I stand a *REAL* chance in beating these pricks all the way to their mother's father's assholes.
Permalink Io 
May 15th, 2017 12:54pm
"> The larger the firm, the less strict they will be about certain policies.

That didn't make sense to me either, but I see it this way as an explanation: "

It didn't make sense because I meant "the more strict", sorry :)
Permalink Yoda 
May 15th, 2017 1:53pm
"Please delete this post and don't doxx me."

No doxxing needed, I already know under which handle you post on quant forums ;-)
Permalink Yoda 
May 15th, 2017 1:54pm
"Would have been too much to have asked them to read my CV, GitHub and cover letter, but at least they asked me math questions!! Which I failed successfully and reinforce my knowledge that these PhD-enabled frontline middle officers have no idea. Which says, given what I know anout the fuckers who employed me, that I stand a *REAL* chance in beating these pricks all the way to their mother's father's assholes."

So you failed some basic maths questions for a middle office role, and you count this as a success? Maybe some humility is in order?
Permalink Yoda 
May 15th, 2017 1:56pm
I have struck out clauses I don't like many times. They ask about it, sometimes they whine and say no one has ever complained. Always a modification is made. There was only one time there was a refusal to negotiate. I had my attorney send them a letter explaining that non-negotiable contracts are generally unenforceable. They then accepted the changes but by then I had accepted another offer.
Permalink Pestular Croaker 
May 15th, 2017 2:11pm
>> No doxxing needed, I already know under which handle you post on quant forums ;-)

Well, thanks then.
Permalink Io 
May 15th, 2017 2:11pm
"non-negotiable contracts are generally unenforceable"

Bullshit.
Permalink Yoda 
May 15th, 2017 2:13pm
>> So you failed some basic maths questions for a middle office role, and you count this as a success? Maybe some humility is in order?

That would have been the case 10, maybe 7 years ago.

>>  They then accepted the changes but by then I had accepted another offer.

At the moment, it's me who's making the offer. If they don't accept it, they can go GTFO.

Simple as that.
Permalink Io 
May 15th, 2017 2:14pm
Non-negotiable contracts by definition are adhesion contracts. Adhesion contracts are evaluated by courts very differently from standard contracts between equals. Adhesion contracts always mean one party had all the power. Courts in the US throw out adhesion contracts on a regular basis because they are considered unjust or unfair. A contract providing no-compete without just and reasonable compensation (such as your full salary during the time you can't work) will be considered by most judges to be unfair and unenforceable.
Permalink Pestular Croaker 
May 15th, 2017 2:20pm
Their statement in writing that the contract is nonnegotiable is proof to all courts that it definitely was an adhesion contract. At that point pretty much all questionable terms are open for debate.
Permalink Pestular Croaker 
May 15th, 2017 2:21pm
Aha, OK. I think this is much more limited in the UK law.
Permalink Yoda 
May 15th, 2017 2:26pm
>> such as your full salary during the time you can't work

I had full salary during the time I can't work, just because that was the norm, not because they saw anything special in me. I have to lay low just another year of that imbecile contract before showing my knowledge in full blown. And I hate them deeply.
Permalink Io 
May 15th, 2017 2:29pm
Noncompetes have been upheld in the UK but they are rare and have to be 'reasonable', especially sice we signed up to the EU human rights act.
Permalink Sangamon 
May 15th, 2017 2:30pm
Yeah, no idea how UK law works. Also US contract law varies from state to state but the limits to adhesion contracts are basic contract law that's generally true.

OK though might have limits on unconscionable terms or such.

In the US the distinction is some states allow unconscionable, immoral, unjust contract terms as long as the party agreed to them. Other states don't. But with adhesion even in the states where such terms in negotiated contracts between equals, they don't in adhesion contracts between unequals.
Permalink Pestular Croaker 
May 15th, 2017 2:31pm
OK -> UK
Permalink Pestular Croaker 
May 15th, 2017 2:31pm
An employment contract in the US is generally though going to be assumed to have been negotiable. So if they say it's not you want to get that in writing or on tape if you're in a one party consent state for recordings. When I've lived in one party consent states I've always recorded contract negotiations so that verbal promises are on the record.
Permalink Pestular Croaker 
May 15th, 2017 2:33pm
In a year I'll have the options market making terminated by having all knowledge I can't make use of, exposed to everyone.

Take it from here to other planets because there won't be a place foe me on this one after I do that.
Permalink Io 
May 15th, 2017 2:35pm
Delusions of grandeur.
Permalink Yoda 
May 15th, 2017 3:51pm

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