At the risk of sounding like an old fuddy-duddy and a COMPLETE idiot, I'm going to throw caution to the wind and just jump right in.
Say you apply for a job with a company which requires that you sign a non-compete before they'll hire you. Say this company subs out cut-and-paste programming because they have designed their systems to work with production line flunkies. Well, allow me to be the first to say, "Welcome to the real world."
I feel your pain. I've been there-done that, and it really suxxxx. On the other hand, there are ballsy ways to get around non-competes without cutting off your nose to spite your face. I'm old now and I will never have to worry about working again, so this is easy for me. One, design a fail-safe strategy for blowing up non-compete contracts. Two, go to work for a small, solid, successful company and learn everything you can possibly learn about being an OWNER of a small, solid, successful company. Make friends...DO NOT NETWORK, people can smell a phony networker a mile away. Invent something that will make you special and different. Save your money. Live in a cracker box. Walk to work. Eat PB&J sandwiches at your desk. Make a close friend with a local, home town bank. Develop a business plan, not some kind of screwball prospectus, just a business plan. Now, start lining up your very own customer base. If that means doing work at home at night, do it. If you drink, stop. If you smoke dope, stop. If you do anything that can get in the way of you one day being a rock star, stop doing it. I have had Porsches since I was 22 years old. I'm 70 now and they feel a WHOLE lot better now than they did along time ago.
It's you world. If you are as good as you think you are, you will succeed. Every now and then it will be a "white-knuckle" ride but one day it will all be worth it. Mark my word, you can be an honorable man and still win.