If the job requires a non-compete clause, proceed with caution
Why California, Oregon and Nevada got it right to make non-compete clauses illegal
Writer’s note: This post was originally published on Medium’s “We Need to Talk” on September 5, 2022.
I took a road trip to my alma mater and fell in love with my Suzuki rental. As soon as I sat in the driver’s seat, I knew I was buying this make of a car. Shortly after returning from Missouri, I went to the annual Chicago Auto Show. I smiled when someone handed me a bag with a free gas gift card promo. All I had to do was test drive a car at a local dealership. Done!
I walked into a local dealership with that gift card promotion and drove away in my new car. What else was I supposed to do with a gas gift card without a car of my own? I drove home smiling from ear to ear and kept that car for 15 years (until three weeks ago). I loved that car so much I used to tell my mother, “Bury me in it. I don’t want a casket. My car is way more fly!”
So she was a little shocked when I briefly considered trading it in for a hybrid car. I’d read one too many news stories about environmentalism and was growing uncomfortable driving a gasoline-powered vehicle. I went down the rabbit hole of hybrid cars and asked my editor if I could go into a dealership to report on hybrid cars and their influence within the African-American community. He turned me down, stating that black people don’t care about electric vehicles (EVs). I shrugged and went anyway. I was growing more interested in buying another car.
I smiled when a group of car salesmen parted, and a young, handsome, African-American car dealer headed my way. Yes! Now maybe I could talk my editor into covering the story. Not only did I want to write about whether black people care about EVs, but my interviewee would be a black man — two perks for a newspaper predominantly geared toward African-American readers. The auto dealer showed me one of the nicest cars in the lot, took me out for a test drive and broke down the entire way EVs run. I was drowning in information that needed to be put on paper. I raced out of the dealership and told him I’d send him a copy of the news clip as soon as it was published.
I wrote the story, included photographs of the car dealer, and a flood of stats on black people as car buyers and environmentalism. Voila! I was proud to turn in my story. Womp womp. The editor still turned it down. He told me he didn’t want to “hear another word” about EVs and he would never publish anything about them. Although a little startled by the snippiness, I shrugged and said, “OK.” The next day, I found out a freelancing company I worked for before I got this job was interested in my auto story. I submitted it. It was accepted. Readers instantly started clicking and reading it.
My editor walked by my office and saw me smiling after reading the email that it was accepted. He asked why I was in such a good mood. I told him my EV story was doing really well on another site, and I was pretty proud. I said it off-handedly and continued to update our news site, not thinking much of it. But when I heard him screaming at the top of his lungs about me publishing the EV story, my head jerked up. He turned on his heels, stormed away and sent me a long, angry email in the next 10 minutes.