To be enforceable, a covenant not to compete must be reasonable in terms of both time and geographic location. You also must have received some consideration to support the non-compete. These legal issues can be expensive to litigate, and could involve temporary restraining orders and injunction hearings. If you were wrongfully terminated, you may have some negotiating leverage with your old employer. Read your non-compete carefully. Your non-compete may simply restrict you from calling on the customers that you either brought to your old employer, or that your old employer already had. If so, you could land another position in the same field, but not call on the off limits customers. You should advise any new employer of the non-compete situation. The new employer may agree to defend you in the event that your old employer chooses to be vindictive and to make legal demand on you to leave the industry entirely. You will need an attorney to review your particular facts to help you formulate a strategy to make a living. The attorney could be one retained by the prospective new employer. Good luck.