Let me run something by all of you. Let's say you once started freelancing as a "Plan B" in case your full-time gig dropped you. Over 12 years you've managed to build a long-standing personal brand around that occasional freelancing. You have several clients who adore you and the work you do and they tell you they would be lost without your talent and have nowhere else to go and nobody else they trust. You know, because in the past you tried to send them elsewhere (for various reasons) and they just kept coming back.

You get laid off from the full-time gig and ACME Company calls and interviews you as a top candidate they're really interested in for that same type of work for a full-time job they're offering.

Here's the catch...if hired, you have two months to basically erase your personal brand and agree never to do any freelancing work as before, even on your own time on evenings and weekends. ACME wants your full focus and attention. Additionally, you find out that the person you'd be replacing is being let go because they weren't sufficiently tech-skilled for the job. And, with a little digging, you find out that person _also_ had several freelancing gigs going on the side. Probably for the same "Plan B" reason. Which is probably why ACME is demanding exclusivity.

Your client base is small. ACME says "we don't care". The work you do is 90% automated and easily achievable in just minutes a day on a weekend or evening. ACME says "doesn't matter". You already had full-time work to begin with so you weren't doing a ton on the side. ACME couldn't be less interested in this "excuse". And you're not keen on the idea of burning down your brand, especially with no guarantees of any kind in the present IT industry hiring/firing/layoffs climate. ACME says this issue is make or break for them.

If you get to the offer stage do you:
a) Flip the bird to your brand and clients you've built up for over a decade and memory-hole it?
b) Negotiate a non-compete clause with ACME, agreeing not to take on any new clients while working full time for them?
c) Flip the bird to ACME and look for something else?

Asking for a friend. ;)

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    I'd probably go for option b, but also check the laws in your location, in some places (possibly UK and EU) what they're asking might not be enforceable
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    @angga2oioi Unfortunately, in the U.S., with salaried professional positions (like this one), they absolutely do expect you to work weekends to meet demand.
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    @angga2oioi But also they said they "preferred" that I use my weekends to recuperate after a demanding 40-60hr work week. And I'm like (in my head), "You're going to tell me what you prefer I do on my weekend? What if doing side projects _is_ relaxing for me?"
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    @angga2oioi Good point. It's actually more of a cultural understanding. If you're not tracking your time and billing by the hour, then it's considered an arrangement where the boss can call you on a Saturday and "ask" you to be on an "emergency" phone call or churn out a report or something. There's not really a protection or procedure for a salaried professional employee to turn to when saying "No, because it's against this or that law". Professional class jobs aren't protected by unionization in most cases. That's why in American cinema you see plots where the dad or the mom is never available for the kids because The Boss called and demanded a job task be done instead of taking Timmy to his friend's birthday party. It sucks, but those jobs can pay a lot more than clockpunching jobs, so those employers expect a lot.
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    @angga2oioi Thanks. That's the direction I'm leaning, but I at least want to give "B" a go to see if they're not actually as arrogant as they came off. If not, then "C" it will be. :)
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    C, sounds like a shithole
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    It all depends on your own work/life balance requirements, where you are in your life and how much you might learn/enjoy at this company.

    I've had to make career-altering decisions this year due to family obligations. Was shit tough to make the decisions and lo-and-behold, my own flavour of "Plan B" is still in place and I enjoy my ACME work.

    Apologies if this comment sounds like it's coming from a grumpy old fart, but if you're under 30 at all, choose the craziest option!

    So much time to re-adjust your trajectory still and much to learn.
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    I work for a smaller ACME. Lets call it acme. They never had me sign anything about what I do on my own time. I don't even remember signing an NDA to protect them. My boss knows I do work for my last employer during my free time. He is okay with me answering phone calls if I keep them short so they aren't up shit creek. I am in the US. acme pays me well and expects occasional overtime if there is a need. They respect that what I do on my own time is mine.

    If your brand is important to you maybe look elsewhere. If it is a point of contention you may be starting off on the wrong foot. Not good for you or ACME.
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    @ardinent Thanks. Good points. I’m in my late 40s so trying to get this right without screwing up other options in case ACME screws me over.
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    Depending on the size of Acme, and since you said you are in the US, most large companies will not allow moonlighting. The reason they do not allow this is not for time reasons, as most have commented on, it’s for IP. Unless you’re really high up or contract workers, we don’t get employment contracts in the states. However, we do sign away our lives on acceptance of the job. Since you assign all rights to IP to Acme upon acceptance of the job and then you create a product while moonlighting, Acme now owns that product. They don’t want to manage and worry about unauthorized or unknown IP. This is why they are telling you it’s a hard no, most likely.

    Smaller companies don’t necessarily worry about these things, but at a certain size or law savvy startups it’s definitely a thing.
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    @atrabilious In this case, the IP isn't something patent-able or otherwise unique. It's mainly the same sort of digital marketing using open source or widely-available tools everyone on the planet is doing and using. This company is completely interchangeable in an industry where everyone looks the same. No, their main concern was with me dividing my time, which I already told them is so minimal as to be inconsequential. I don't even need to do these tasks (basically reviewing a report and sending an email to four clients) on a weekday. Them telling me how to use my Saturdays was a little offputting. Even in America, weekends are supposed to be respected (even if sometimes there have to be exceptions).
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    @stackodev hrm, if you’re not building stuff on the side, then I don’t know the objection. My company has a strict no moonlighting policy, along with non compete on hiring. Maybe option C is for you, but I would suppose that depends on benefits and pay. Hard to turn down a lot of money even if it’s not forever. If you try to negotiate this clause, good luck, be expensive if they don’t budge. 😃
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    Ballpark what are they offering you ?
    That’s one hell of a list of demands
    Give up clients ? 60 hours a week and weekends at times ? Is the non compete to keep them from taking your clients ? Can you get a minimum term of employment and severance agreement ?
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    Are they really offering this again or are you role playing ?
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    @killames It was a real job interview for a $70k job. In the end I didn’t get a second interview precisely because of my reluctance to just dump all my clients and goodwill/reputation-building. If I did get the second interview, I was going to push back on that. Luckily, they saved me the trouble.
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