TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Randy Burgess <ghost -at- DAVINCI -dot- NETAXIS -dot- COM>
> She wants me to sign what she says is a standard "non-compete" clause
> before she even thinks of introducing me to a client. Effectively it would
> bar me from working for a company she "introduced" me to "directly or
> indirectly" for up to a year after I leave her employ. It seems very broad
> to me, and I think an experienced contract writer would probably refuse to
> sign it--but I'm not that experienced,
When I first heard of non-competition clauses a few months ago, I was a
bit surprised, too.
Talking to a few tech-writing agencies, however, I soon found that the
clause is commonplace. Apparently, some writers and some companies are
unscrupulous enough that, after using an agency, they cut deals that
leave out the agency. I was naive enough that the thought hadn't
occurred to me, but apparently it's common enough that agencies use the
clause to protect themselves.
The one year clause you mention is about in the middle.Locally, six
months seems common, but I've heard rumors of two year clauses.
In practice, too, the clause can be less restrictive than it appears. I
was told by several agencies that, should I be offered full-time work
after finishing the temporary contracts they sponsored me for, I could
accept the offer--so long as I told them what was happening. Presumably,
in that case, the agency could ask a finder's fee, but mainly the idea
seems to be to keep everybody honest. You might ask the woman you're
dealing with what would happen if this situation arose for you.
If nothing else, her response would tell a lot about what sort
of person she is, and whether you want to deal with her.