You work for an employer.  The employer has trade secrets and leads it wants to protect.  It asks you to sign a non-compete agreement when you hire on.  Most non-compete agreements provide that after you leave your job, you will not compete with your employer for a specified amount of time.  Is that non-compete agreement binding?  It would be binding if the employer gave you something in *consideration* for signing that non-compete.  Are stock options sufficient consideration?  A recent Dallas state court opinion says no.  Russell Cawyer, who generally represents employers, says money or other financial consideration will not be enough consideration to support your promise not to compete against your employer.  The employer should offer some binding promise, such as providing trade secrets.  

Once the employer makes good on that promise, then the non-compete *may* become binding.  See Chris McKinney’s take on the current law regarding non-compete agreements.