At my current employer in the US, I have a paid non-compete agreement (basically garden leave). If I leave the company, I am prohibited from working with a competitor for 9 months, but receive my current salary and benefits during this period, minus any income earned from employment by non-competitors.
I'm considering leaving my current industry, and have been applying to jobs at companies that would not be considered competitors. I'd appreciate a long leave in between jobs for travel and professional development, plus the idea of working when I would get paid roughly the same amount if I didn't isn't appealing. So, my ideal start date would be really late. But I'm not sure how to bring up this idea with potential employers when I'm interviewing. Answering "When can you start?" with "2 weeks and 9 months from now" after getting an offer seems like it wouldn't go over well, especially at a company that isn't used to contracts like this.
I'm currently not planning to bring up the non-compete until I've completed my interviews and am negotiating an offer. This makes sense to me because I won't know how much I'm willing to budge on my start date for any particular company until late in the interview process anyway. If this is a faux pas, let me know.
Obviously some of this will vary between companies and industries, but in general, is a paid non-compete from a non-competitor a reasonable reason to delay my start date? Is this something I should expect to need to compromise on?
- In my state, non-competes are enforceable.
- For the purposes of this question, assume that my current employer won't nullify the non-compete agreement. They are highly unlikely to do this due to some additional non-work-related restrictions in it.
- I'd rather not burn any bridges while interviewing in a new industry, since there's a good chance I'll apply to some of these companies again in the future if rejected.