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Disrupt Your Career

How to Navigate Uncharted Career Transitions and Thrive

By Antoine Tirard and Claire Lyell

Paperback, 310 pages

Publisher: Lulu Publishing Services


Professionals face many critical crossroads in their careers, sometimes unpredictable, sometimes more expected, but for which they were often not truly prepared.

This book discusses many such career transitions – from leaving a corporation to joining a non-profit, evolving from athlete to executive, or returning to a former employer.

Using the stories of 50 leaders interviewed all over the world, the authors describe what provokes the change, the challenges it creates, how the individual is surviving the transition, and what effective leaders do to navigate and grow from it.

The book offers a simple, easy-to-use framework to help make the most of any uncharted transition. To thrive, you have to follow a four-stage process of Exploring, Experimenting, Engaging and Expanding. Drawing on examples of a wide range of companies, Disrupt Your Career also provides recommendations to help organizations better acquire, develop and retain talent.

With both compelling stories and rigorous research, Disrupt Your Career serves as a call to exploit novel ways to approach careers and presents practical advice to help both individuals and organizations better prepare, manage, and make the most of career changes – ultimately leading to more fulfilling careers.


Antoine Tirard is a talent management advisor and the founder of NexTalent. He is the former head of talent management of Novartis and LVMH.

Claire Harbour-Lyell is a coach and global talent expert, the founder of Culture Pearl and a speaker, consultant and writer about all things to do with optimizing talent across borders.

What People Are Saying

Stories from Career Changers

George, United States

Finance, marketing and business development for media and tech companies   ->  Front-end Developer at Aperto

George, a San Francisco native, gave no early indication that he would become a developer. After graduation, he joined an asset management firm. Despite enjoying the intellectual challenge, he disliked the culture and soon left. He then embarked on a “journeyman’s career”, including theatrical marketing in Hollywood and corporate finance for a visual effects studio. He even used his basic coding skills to help his brother’s textile business in Mexico. As George looked to Europe for a challenge, he signed up for an MBA in France. He visited Berlin during a break, fell in love with the place and decided to become a Berliner. He joined a large advertising agency as a digital marketer for start-up clients. To meet deadlines, he often had to work out his own technical solutions.

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Laila, Philippines

Investment banker   ->  Co-Founder, Guerrilla Dining Concepts

Hailing from the Philippines, Laila was always a foodie. But in her comfortable family environment, only maids cooked for a living. So she became a successful banker, first at JP Morgan, then Deutsche Bank. Eventually she was offered a finance position in Dubai. She travelled often and frequently took solace in the food joints on her trips. Soon she wondered why she did not just go into the food industry. She took a year off, reckoning that she was still young and could always go back to finance. During that time, Laila visited Europe, hatching a strategy and saving as much money as she could. Settling on the city of San Sebastián in Spain, she began knocking on doors in search of an apprenticeship.

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Celia, UK

Military Doctor   ->  Photograph, area manager at an online health and wellness company

Celia has moved in and out of medicine since she began her career. She was always planning to be either a doctor or a vet, and eventually decided to opt for caring for humans, based on advice she received and found persuasive while attending a careers fair. She was supported through university medicine studies by the Royal Army Medical Corps, and thus her first house job was in a military hospital. Months more of such postings would have ensued, but the Gulf War broke out and army establishments became off limits to civilians, and she then transferred to a non-military role. This switch allowed her to reflect on her experience, and to recognize that her natural preference might not be for treating otherwise healthy young men, and that her talents in care could probably lead her in other directions, especially when it came to building rapport and more holistic approaches.

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Tom, UK

Captain, British Army   ->  Field Engineer Schlumberger

Tom received his education in institutions known for being the best, building his academic capacities before deciding to join the British Army. Having been in the military cadet corps at school, and undertaken obligations while at Cambridge University, Tom decided to follow his instincts on graduation, and not allow himself to be distracted by a corporate career for which he was not yet ready. He did not like the idea of “spending his twenties behind a desk”, and sought the military alternative, a more outdoors life, as well as adventure and a chance to travel. He got this, and more.

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Kavitha, Canada

Women's Tennis Association   ->  Trade Strategy and Insights, The Coca-Cola Company

Kavitha was a four times Canadian junior tennis champion before “going pro”. After completing an MBA at INSEAD she went to work for Coca-Cola where the discipline, equanimity and global adaptability developed during her years on the tennis circuit, were put to good use. One potential liability she noted, however, was the difficulty some sports stars have in modifying their competitive nature. Fostering a team environment that is conducive to success is not necessarily compatible with an athlete’s desire to win at all costs.

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Lily, China

MSc Management, London School of Economics   ->  Audit Associate, KPMG

Lily’s move to the U.K. just before finishing high school in China was not her own choice, though her family situation no doubt predisposed her to this kind of development. Her father had been an expatriate manager of a Chinese multinational since she was a young girl, so she had frequently visited him in France and the U.K. with her mother. Her parents directed that she complete her secondary education at Oxford, to spare her the terrors of the notorious Chinese university entrance exams. Lily’s move to Oxford went smoothly, and she describes the two years she spent living with a host family as the happiest in her life.

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