PART III: Executing Your Career Plan When a Non-Compete or Non-Solicit Agreement Stands in Your Way

Once you know the basics about where you want to be in your career, you have to start taking the steps to get you there. This can be especially difficult when you have signed a non-competition or non-solicitation agreement with your current employer.

If you are obligated under a noncompete or nonsolicitation agreement, your options for a career change may not be immediately apparent. Most executives are not interested in relocating their families or making an industry leap. But contracts are all about interpretation and there may be a way to accomplish your goals without any drastic life changes. Understanding the true scope of your restrictions is the first step to determining how to leave your current employer and achieve your career goals.

While it is true that most employers have become sophisticated enough to use seemingly enforceable terms for their restrictive covenants, not every non-compete agreement is in fact enforceable. And, even if your agreement is enforceable, there may be ways of negotiating a separation that allows you to pursue the career you want. Sometimes, it’s as simple as asking for a release from the terms.

I still caution clients not to breach their obligations, especially if they have not contemplated the consequences of a breach. Don’t go off the deep end and expose yourself to a lawsuit. Just know your options so that you don’t fee handcuffed to your employer.