As a copy editor, you may be asked to sign a non-compete agreement by your employer. This document is aimed at protecting the employer`s intellectual property rights and trade secrets from being used by other companies. However, in some cases, signing a non-compete agreement may do more harm than good for you as an employee.

Here are some scenarios when you should think twice before signing a non-compete agreement:

1. When the agreement is too broad: Non-compete agreements that are too broad and encompass a variety of industries or job functions should raise a red flag. If you are asked to sign an agreement that prevents you from working in any field or company, it may be too restrictive and limit your career opportunities in the future.

2. When the agreement is too long: Some non-compete agreements may be valid for a few years, which could prevent you from gaining employment in the industry for a substantial period. It`s essential to weigh the potential impact on your career before signing an agreement that lasts too long.

3. When the agreement is not related to your job: If you are asked to sign a non-compete agreement that is not relevant to your current job description, you may want to question its validity. For instance, if you work in a marketing firm, but the agreement prohibits you from working in the food industry, it may not be reasonable to restrict your career options.

4. When the agreement is one-sided: Non-compete agreements should be fair to both the employer and the employee. If the agreement is one-sided, with all the benefits flowing towards the employer, you may want to reconsider signing it.

5. When the agreement restricts your ability to earn a livelihood: One of the primary reasons to avoid signing a non-compete agreement is when it restricts your ability to earn a livelihood. If the agreement prevents you from working in a particular industry altogether, you may want to negotiate the terms or seek legal advice.

In conclusion, non-compete agreements are a common practice in the workplace, but you should not sign them blindly. Before signing, ensure that the agreement is reasonable and fair to you as an employee. If you have any doubts or concerns about the terms of the agreement, seek legal advice to protect your career and interests.