The short-sighted managers, directors, and lawyers at The Company (name has been withheld to protect the ignorant) have decided that my husband (S) and his friend (M) cannot take part in our new business venture. To make matters worse, they sat on their conflict-of-interest disclosures for 8 weeks before coming to this decision.
Apparently, The Company feels that the best way to ensure company loyalty is to prevent their employees from participating in any outside work activities, which is a completely asinine conclusion. According to them, M and S are critical to the success of their current project, and they're afraid that this business opportunity might be a "golden parachute" that would provide them with a means of escaping from their current positions.
M and S never intended for this to be an either/or situation. They thought that they'd be able to use their experience and knowledge to do some consulting work, while continuing to work full-time in their current jobs. They both enjoy their work, and they're earning a lot of recognition for their efforts. But by preventing them from participating in our new business in their free time, The Company is forcing them to choose between their current jobs and a potentially even better opportunity.
When my husband received the bad news today, he was almost angry enough to quit on the spot. Unfortunately, that isn't a possibility, simply because we need the practical benefits of a stable salary and affordable health insurance-- the "golden handcuffs" of Corporate America.
But M's wife has a successful career of her own, so they have the financial flexibility for him to work for a start-up company. Added to that, The Company's HR department has been unhappy with his telecommuting status, and they've been telling him that he needs to move back to Cincinnati (which isn't possible because of his wife's work) or face complete derailment of his career. So now he has plenty of incentive to leave his current job ASAP, and I predict that our new company will pick up enough business to make it possible within the next 6-12 months.
What The Company doesn't realize is that they have effectively eliminated all of the influence that they would have otherwise had over what my new company can do. In their conflict-of-interest disclosures, M and S had voluntarily proposed that our new company would not do business with any of The Company's competitors, which basically would have eliminated the entire consumer products industry in one fell swoop. They also specified that our new company would not earn a commission from any sales that we might coordinate between our software partners and The Company.
As an independent entity, I am free from those restrictions-- I can work with any company in any industry, AND I'll collect my standard commission for any new software that The Company purchases.