Today I celebrate my independence day. Here’s an approximation of how it looks inside my head:
It’s been two years since I left my first repressive employer, Opera Software, which means that I am finally free of all non-competitive agreements as of today. Of course, disclosing that fact might in itself be against said (or non-said) agreement. So I’m not saying it’s the case, just that it might be. Anyway, it’s cause for celebration.
I was young and free, still enrolled at university, and eager to put my l33t coding skillz to use so what was I to do? No, looking back I realize – thank Providence – it was a good decision. It kick-started my career and set me off on an an interesting path.
But let me tell you kids: non-competitive agreements and the like are bad. Stay away from them and stay away from companies that will only offer you employment after signing one. I was lucky, but I don’t think most people are. Of course, whether or not they’re enforceable is another matter, especially when the nationality of the parties and the country where work is carried out are all different. But it smells of bad employment practices.
I was actually contacted a little more than a year ago about an interesting employment opportunity that I would definitely have been interested in if it weren’t for said (or non-said) agreement, so it’s not just all hypothetical. And regardless of the probability of such an unmentionable agreement being upholdable in court, I am a man of my word when signed in triplicate under witness and after review by lawyers. And specific knowledge of the Opera source code wouldn’t have been an advantage either – so it’s all just self-flattering from the oppressive party’s part.
Not coincidentally, today is also two years since I joined my second repressive employer, Picsel Technologies (also known as Picsel Research, Picsel Malta, Lescip, Picsel Holdings, Lescip H, Picsel Trustees, Lescip Seetrust, not to mention the Geurnsey-based Picsel Group Holdings, and a number of other names). Picsel was fun in many ways. If I get the salary they still owe me it’ll seem even funnier. But at least they didn’t require me to sign anything oppressive.
If you’re interested in understanding what happened to Picsel, a seemingly flourishing mobile software technology company, there’s a site for that. Highly recommended reading.
Anyway I’m better off now, thanks largely to these two repressive employers. Happy independence day!