When you were hired, you may have been asked to sign a non-compete agreement. This agreement prohibits you from working with competing firms in the same business or industry after you leave the current employer, for a specified period of time and in a certain geographic area. When you signed the agreement, you might not have thought much about it. After all, you recently started a new job – you probably weren't thinking about leaving just yet. However, when you do decide it's time to move on, a non-compete agreement can seriously limit your options in finding a new position.
For this reason, many states have tough laws that restrict the scope of non-compete agreements, and judges are reluctant to enforce them – which makes it less difficult for you to get out of a non-compete agreement you signed.
Get a copy of the agreement you signed. Closely reading the non-compete agreement you signed can give you a better idea of the interests the company seeks to protect and what you need to stress in asking for a release.
Review your state's law. Some states have passed tough laws regarding the enforcement and legality of non-compete agreements. It may be that your agreement was signed before such a law when into effect, and hasn't been updated to comport with the law.