Non-competes are considered to be contracts of adhesion - you don’t sign, you don’t work. Very difficult to enforce. Might be enforceable in close geographical proximity,(I’ve been told “county”), but the further you are from your former employer the less enforceable. I’ve known several people who were threatened with enforcement action, but never followed through (software vendors).
I am now retired so no non-compete now (although my wife would like me to sign one! ).
I have had many non-competes over my career in HIT. MY advise is:
1. If they want a stringent non-compete for a period of time, then negotiate a equal severance /termination payment clause. The old saying is if they want you to sit on the beach doing nothing for a year or two, then you should be paid to do that.
2. If you can't get that then make sure the non-compete is as narrow as possible. For example if you are to work in an ambulatory lab specialty area (eg. developing lab systems) then have the non-compete restricted to that.. Even more specific is better (lab chemistry vs pathology, vs microbiology, etc). And limit it to specific tasks in that arena. So if you want to latter do consulting in an adjacent discipline you can.
3. If they won't give on either 1 or 2, then you have to make a hard decision as to how badly you want that job. In effect you have to sell your value to the new organization so they are willing to negotiate. If they don't see real value in bringing you in (like you have a solid track record, or some critical technical acumen) then you have little leverage in negotiations.
4. If you can afford it get a lawyer. If you can't maybe post the clauses you are concerned about here or on other web sites and try to get some good feedback/ideas. If nothing else you should fully understand the potential impact of the fine print.
I was laid off in Dec and my interview process with a competitor just came to a grinding halt due to "non-solicitation" language within my "non-disclosure." If an employer no longer wants/needs my service due to their performance especially, but even based on individual performance, I should not have any barriers to working anywhere . A company's IP can still be protected. I can still see merit in a non-compete for when employees voluntarily leave for a direct competitor (e.g. leaving Epic for Cerner or vice-versa).