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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

Dek, Philippines

Buying, Account management and General management in Li & Fung

Dek was “given an opportunity to grab” when she joined Swire and Maclaine, which was the buying agency business of the Swire Group, not long after she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in business. How she reached the point at which she could seize it is another story. Having grown up poor, with parents who believed fervently in the power of education to transform, Dek was pushed into a degree in Economics, even though she felt no intrinsic attraction in this direction. Ever since she could remember, she had wanted to work in retail or trading, dealing in the shoes, handbags, jewelry and “pretty, girly stuff” of her dreams. As a child, she used to sneak out of her house in the evenings, to go walking through one of the three malls in Manila, so she could admire and covet these frivolous items again and again. The Philippines of the 1970’s did not offer many opportunities in the retail industry, so Dek struggled to find work in her target area.

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Iona, United Kingdom

European equity analyst in investment banks   ->  Landscape Architect

Iona encountered fewer obstacles on her journey. Raised in the Scottish Highlands, she frequently travelled with her family, developing an appreciation for local cultures and languages. An exchange year in France and a gap year in Australia later convinced her that she needed to make a lot of money to finance her wanderlust. So she decided on a career in investment banking in London.  She first took a junior role on the trading floor at Goldman Sachs, before joining another bank, selling European equities. She loved the constant travel, the glamorous clients and the bright people around her. However, after seven years, the finance world started shifting. As the environment became far less pleasant, she reconsidered her options.

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Rahaf, Syria

Syrian refugee   ->  Entrepreneur & Founder at FirstDate Daffee

Rahaf began her university degree in business just one year before war broke out in Syria. Hardworking and not easily frightened, she kept up her studies, despite the nearby shelling and the constant blackouts. Wrapped in warm blankets in the unheated lecture theatres, she witnessed her fellow students being arrested. After graduation, her first job was in a Danish NGO’s procurement department. She started as a volunteer, soon proved her worth, and began to earn a salary. A few years later, Rahaf looked to continue her career beyond the frontiers of Syria. She came across an international NGO in Turkey, where she thought she could add value while living more safely and freely. A young man called Tamim reviewed her CV and was utterly impressed by her accomplishments and determination.

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Graham, UK

Consultant, The Boston Consulting Group   ->  Regional CEO, National Health Service

Graham, a British former general practitioner turned influential change guru in the UK’s health policy, fell into consulting by accident. Although he had done an MBA, he had done so in search of self-development and happiness. He had not looked with any seriousness at the possibility of becoming a strategy consultant as so many of his friends at INSEAD had. Graham spent a short period managing a team in a healthcare reform think tank in the U.S. during the Clinton administration, gaining early experience in significant research and paper-writing, after which he followed his wife to Boston, where she was to study and he wished to find work. What better employer than the Boston Consulting Group?

Argyro, Greece

General Manager, The Nuance Group   ->  Manager HR Advisory, KPMG Greece

Argyro had no intention of leaving her job as general manager of the Greek subsidiary of a major travel retail company, until she learned she was pregnant with her first child. This came at the same time that her company was being acquired. Her reluctance to be in the post-merger structure, as well as to sacrifice time with her baby led her to part ways amicably with her employer, but she was not planning a long break. However, another pregnancy prolonged the gap. She mulled starting over with a “second career”. This reflection showed her that what she most enjoyed was “creating beautiful teams of talented people and helping them grow”.  So, she did a second degree, this time in Strategy and HR Management, while still pregnant for the second time.

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Diana, UK

Partner, Schroder Ventures (now Permira)   ->  EVP Operations, Clinton Foundation Health Access Initiative

Having done “incredibly well” in the private equity field, and reached a “plateau that was less interesting and exciting than the climb up”, Diana found herself CEO of a very prominent firm before 40. She felt that the second half of her working life should be a kind of “setting to rights” to make up for all her success in the first half. To this end, Diana went back to school (Oxford) for a year, hoping to figure out her new destiny, and strongly believing she could not fit into the nonprofit world. But when a friend asked if he could introduce her to the head of the Clinton Foundation, she was intrigued, given the stature of the man. Within twenty minutes, she was hooked on the fact that this was a world of mostly private sector people, solving global problems with a market-driven outlook.

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