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Old 01-02-2015, 05:10 PM   #21
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It is time for you to leave for your own mental health. Consult an attorney to find out what you could do without causing yourself great risk in your non-compete and work behind the scenes doing what you can for your one-year, then you are free. I remember my employment attorney telling me that my non-compete was hardly worth the paper it was written on, but I never tested it.
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Old 01-02-2015, 07:53 PM   #22
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Sounds like you can certainly swing this financially, and the stress seems to be impacting you. I think you need to make a change, but I don't know whether there is anything you can do to make things better at your current location.

Also, how does your wife feel about you becoming more active in the business? I know you said it was originally the plan to run the business jointly, but she's been doing it mostly alone for a few years. Will she feel like she's losing control if you join the business full time? Presumably you've been talking with her and she's happy about the change and the opportunities this may create. But these kinds of changes can be emotional so it's important to understand how these changes will impact her as well as how they'll impact you and your job.

Good luck, it's sounds like a very difficult work experience, but you've been able to save a nice nest egg that can give you the freedom to take a chance now.
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Old 01-02-2015, 08:13 PM   #23
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I can't add anything above and beyond what's already been said. Welcome and know you've got a supportive community here!
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Old 01-02-2015, 10:11 PM   #24
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Can't add much. Talk to an attorney about your legal obligations. In any event, though, from what you say, I would run not walk from your current employer.
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Old 01-02-2015, 11:50 PM   #25
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I feel for you. These are big, important decisions to be making. I remember what I went through when I quit my job to set out on my own. There were a lot of sleepless nights and much worry about whether I would make it or not. One thought that kept popping back in my head was "what is the worst that can happen?". It is not like you are going to starve to death or the whole world is going to unravel if going into business with your wife doesn't work out. You apparently are an intelligent, successful person to make it this far. If this plan doesn't work the way you figured it would you can certainly get a job somewhere else.

When you are putting the numbers to things don't forget to calculate what you may save by working in your own business versus working in your current job. Don't forget about the tax benefits of being fully self employed.

Go for it and don't look back!
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Old 01-03-2015, 12:06 AM   #26
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Several have noted the questions to ask about the strength of the non-compete agreement in the event the employer takes action against you. Talking to a lawyer is definitely worthwhile.

Be sure to go a little deeper, though. The lawyer's opinion on the circumstances that might provoke an action would be worth noting. For example, would dropping the two overlapping customers reduce the chances?

Your own knowledge of the ex-employer's culture and personnel also needs consideration. Is taking action to enforce non-competes a habit of theirs?

In any case, count me among the ones that say these are just variables in the equation that adds up in your favor. It sounds to me that whatever the "worst that could happen" might be after leaving your j*b would be no more stressful than staying.
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Old 01-03-2015, 07:12 AM   #27
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Life is too short to do something that you strongly dislike. When the only reason to go to work is for the money, it's time to find something else to do.

If it's a well written non-compete, there will be no such thing as 'working behind the scenes' with your wife's business.

If you have to take a year off, then so be it.

Man up.
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Old 01-03-2015, 07:52 AM   #28
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Focus on the things you do in your job that you like and do them. Ignore everything else.
Your parachute is packed so why care if they get around to dumping you? According to your assessment you are not part of the solution to this companies problems so why should you care. You may have more success in your wife's successful business by continuing to work at the evil empire.

Use some of your money to get her some marketing and ramp up her business.
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Old 01-03-2015, 08:15 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
This sounds like the inmates who have known nothing but prison life and fear getting out when their sentence is up.

From what you've told us if you did make the move it is highly unlikely you'd starve to death even if things didn't go perfectly. Continuing the job you have sounds far worse than running your own business.

If I were as miserable as you sound I think I could find a way to conquer my fears of quitting.
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Old 01-03-2015, 03:27 PM   #30
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Wow - thank you all for the great replies! Seems like the over-all opinion is to run.....don't walk away from my current job. Reading all these posts make it seem like a no-brainer and make me wonder why I have even been holding on. A few quotes that really stand out to me are:

By Indiana Randy: Life is too short to do something that you strongly dislike. When the only reason to go to work is for the money, it's time to find something else to do.

By Htown Harry: It sounds to me that whatever the "worst that could happen" might be after leaving your j*b would be no more stressful than staying.

From Deadshort52: I remember what I went through when I quit my job to set out on my own. There were a lot of sleepless nights and much worry about whether I would make it or not. One thought that kept popping back in my head was "what is the worst that can happen?". It is not like you are going to starve to death or the whole world is going to unravel if going into business with your wife doesn't work out.

From Catsmeow: I would run not walk from your current employer

Frompb4uski: It is time for you to leave for your own mental health.

From Philliefan33: From your description, your current job is going to kill you. Figure out what needs to be done regarding your wife's business and your finances, and get out

From Bamaman: Life is not worth serious anxiety, gloom, despair, misery and deep depression for another 10 or 20 years. Time to say "Adios!"

From Bestwifeever: Jump.

From Ronstar: But in any case, I wouldn't continue as you're doing in a stress filled environment.

From Walt34: The job you have sounds horrible, more like a prison sentence than a job. That is heart attack material

And my favorite, also from Indiana Randy : Man up.

Yep, pretty much a no-brainer and almost a slap in the face. Thanks again - I needed that. I appreciate all of your thoughtful replies and perspectives.
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Old 01-03-2015, 03:39 PM   #31
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Also, how does your wife feel about you becoming more active in the business? I know you said it was originally the plan to run the business jointly, but she's been doing it mostly alone for a few years. Will she feel like she's losing control if you join the business full time? Presumably you've been talking with her and she's happy about the change and the opportunities this may create. But these kinds of changes can be emotional so it's important to understand how these changes will impact her as well as how they'll impact you and your job.
This is something that did worry me a bit. She has been doing it on her own and has been successful. When she bought it, it was for us to do together....but it was mostly for me, as it is something I am familiar with and am good at. She is not a sales or marketing person, and has no desire to be. The thought is that I will do all the sales and marketing and she will do most of everything else. The business itself would (for the most part) keep running as-is under her rule , it is just that hopefully it will be much more profitable. Another reason I am confident is that she wants me to come on board with the business almost more than I want to.
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Old 01-03-2015, 03:59 PM   #32
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.... For example, would dropping the two overlapping customers reduce the chances?

Your own knowledge of the ex-employer's culture and personnel also needs consideration. Is taking action to enforce non-competes a habit of theirs?....
Dropping the 2 customers is definitely a possibility and both would likely understand. It is not what we would want to do, but technically, it would eliminate any overlap.

Since the new regime has taken over, people have been leaving in masses. They have only pursued action on one other employee that I know of, but he was going to compete directly in the same market and the same territory. They have sent cease and desist letters and threatened action on several others (that I know of) but have never taken action. These were folks who have left to work in similar markets or manufacturers and not competing directly. I guess that sets a precedence.
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Old 01-03-2015, 04:09 PM   #33
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If you go to work for another employer not subject to the non-compete then your current employer won't be interested in your wife's business, maybe even a not for profit. Perhaps you could take on the role of a consultant for that other employer, something where you provide your marketing/sales expertise that doesn't consume a lot of time. Easy to tell your current collogues that you have decided to re-orient how you want to spend your time and mention the other employer.

Keep your guidance to your wife's business very low profile - perhaps only dealing with clients not covered by the non-compete, you don't want clients she shares with your current employer to mention that you are active in the business.
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Old 01-05-2015, 04:54 PM   #34
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This thread reminds me of my situation. I was hooked up to a Holter monitor 3 times when I was with my old company and since I left to start my own thing competing against them, never!

I had far less available cash, and no current income from my wife as you do, and I had the first of 3 starting college. The first year during my do not compete was very hard, and the sales cycle in my business is long, and I always wondered when I was going to turn the corner. My previous employer hated me competing with them, but their contract, which was created by them, had restrictions in "a specific territory, with specific products, during a one year period".
Getting around that by going to customers I didn't know as well was challenging but well worth it, because my sales really grew once the restriction was over. As others have suggested, working behind the scenes, and in compliance with your do not compete is your best bet. Do not generate quotes or leave business cards with your name on it if you are unsure. Time goes incredibly fast, and the incentive for them to go after you goes down the closer to the year mark.

This was one of the best things I ever did in my life. I have more confidence than I ever did and I feel I am creating something for the future that is sustainable to my kids if they want it. I watch my former coworkers scramble in fear of my previous employer always wondering when the next commission pay cut will come, and how many reports can you do rather than interact with customers.

So when someone asks me am I happy, I say lets see...I pay less in taxes, save more in retirement, do whatever I want every day, never hear from my home office, make more money, and have a perpetual smile on my face. (Most days...)

Good luck but I think you know what I think you should do.


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Old 01-07-2015, 12:32 PM   #35
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I'm a year into 2 year non compete with a megacorp. Now working for non competitor in the same market but had several opportunities with competitors. What I learned was if the job was selling and calling on exact same customers with like product it was a no go. My company did ok a move to a direct competitor working a different but like market. If you live in a right to work state and the new job isn't exact or close to exactly what you were doing its worth fighting.

One vital question is will you leave with a severance or just leave? If you take money on the way out the non compete ramps up.

I will go against the grain. I would stay a few more years and ramp up my savings. Change your attitude to how you allow all the noise at work to cause stress. If they let you go because you aren't putting in above and beyond effort so be it. You gain savings every month you are employed.

I was in the same place you are and yes it sucked but the money put me in a much better place financially hanging on another 3-4 years. I waited until they offered packages and jumped. They didn't want me to leave but I was smiling with their package walking out the door. It paid off for me but I was able to change my attitude and not completely elevate but diminish my stress during the final years. If you can't make the change then leave.


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Old 01-07-2015, 01:43 PM   #36
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I think it's Brian Tracy who talks about zero sum solutions. He advises every morning you should ask yourself is there any area in my life that, knowing what I know now, I wouldn't get into again. If the answer is no, then he advises to get out of that situation as fast as you would get out of a burning house. As Blue65 stated above, it will turn out to be one of the best things you've done in your life, regardless of the consequences.

Why is it that fear keeps us clinging to what we already know but have no basis for continuing?
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Old 01-07-2015, 04:58 PM   #37
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The fear of the unknown is powerful


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Old 01-07-2015, 09:23 PM   #38
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Devils advocate OMY syndrome option: Bite the bullet for one more year, tighten the budget and make it top priority to pay off the 180k mortgage within 12 months. Then take your year off to decompress.
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Old 01-10-2015, 10:48 AM   #39
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Thank you all for the continued thoughts and comments. Sorry for the delayed response...I was on the road all week.

Blue65 - I appreciate you passing along your (similar) situation and experience. Our non-competes sound very similar. Mine was written many years ago, under a different owner, 6 comp plans ago and 2 territory changes ago. My non-compete is very specific to my market only, of which there is very little overlap with my wife's business. It is also specific to my state and I live close to the border of another state, so technically, I could work outside of my state without any violation. I am glad that your situation has turned out so positive.

mdsmith1 - I would be leaving with no severance - just quitting outright. I am trying very hard to block out all the negativity and just do my job. The problem is that in my role, I have to deal with every department in the company, all of whom operate in their own silo. It is difficult to explain, but getting the simplest task done is maddening. I am trying to hold out because it is no secret that our company is for sale and if it does sell, the dynamics could change (for better or worse) and / or they may decide not to keep the reps and I could get a severance. Not to mention I am making (and banking) great money.....but it is getting difficult.

Options and mdsmith1 - fear of the unknown is the single biggest reason I haven't already jumped ship. It is, indeed, a very powerful thing.

Yukon - I do like that idea. I have started putting an exit plan in together and I like the idea of having my mortgage paid off. One year is a bit longer than I anticipated, but it would probably make sense economically.

Again, thank you all for your comments. It is such a tough decision because of the security I have and the money I am making. The fear of the unknown is powerful. I keep telling myself if I can just hold off a little longer, I will be that much more financially secure and the risk of leaving will not be as great. My wife's business has a lot of potential, but it is unknown. I am well paid in my field and if things do go south, it is highly unlikely I will ever be able to regain the income I am receiving now. But, you only live once and quality of life is very important. I love what I do...it is just that I do not like who I am doing it for.
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Old 01-10-2015, 11:17 AM   #40
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Leave and take the sabbatical. You'll get the peace of mind you need and won't have to worry about getting any nasty letters from the evil empire. But that's just the advice from a highly functioning sloth.
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