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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.

Authors

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

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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Helen, Australia

Legal, risk and finance executive   ->  Board director in four companies

With a background in law, risk and compliance, Helen obtained her first non-executive director role in Australia three years ago via her networks. According to her, networking is the best way to get into board membership, as well as a skill that remains critical through an entire boardroom career. What drew Helen in was recognizing that she simply loved building strong businesses. As she says, non-executive roles are “the ultimate backstop of an organisation”. She finds the challenge fascinating and energizing, but adds that the liabilities that sit with non-executive directors are significant and can make one pause for breath. Helen recalls her first board meeting: “It was terrifying! I was very conscious I was the youngest person in the room, and the only female. I felt that I had insufficient experience compared to the others at the table.”

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Barbara, UK

Interim HR Director, WPP Group   ->  Founder, The Doubleknot Company Ltd

Barbara has recently undertaken what she calls her “fourth transition”, confidently having become an expert over the years in reflecting on what changes of context are appropriate for her at any given moment. Having dropped out of university with literally no idea of what she wanted to do, she entered the advertising industry via the secretarial route, and fought hard to climb up. She worked for a few years in a variety of independent agencies, progressing in a series of account management roles, and then decided to pursue an MBA. During a lecture on intangible assets, she had an “Aha!” moment, concluding that the next big business issue would be people, so she signed up for the HR route.

Eric, USA

Olympic Equestrian Rider   ->  Financial Analyst, General Electric

Eric, an Olympic equestrian from the U.S. Virgin Islands, set himself a clear agenda after leaving school. He identified high targets, specified time frames and focused exclusively on meeting them. His progression was spectacular, and he joined the team for the Pan-American Games in 1987, followed by the 1988 Olympics. However, with a 35th place at the Olympics, it was strikingly clear that he had not reached the threshold he had hoped for. At this point, he says, he recognized he was “good but not extraordinary” and it was time to act on his agenda and leave his sporting career behind him.

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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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Jenna, UK

Tax Lawyer, Law Firm   ->  Physics Teacher, Boarding School

The transitions Jenna has made in and out of the law profession are impressive, and her story is possibly more one of a missed calling elsewhere, combined with exceptionally tough non-controllable events. A brilliant scholar at Cambridge, Jenna graduated in Natural Sciences. She possessed a passion for numbers and analysis, but she ended up prepared for a career in law. After training, she worked in structured finance in an investment bank and did extremely well, being lucky to be in the boom of the early ‘90s. But when her first daughter was born, she had just changed companies, and had no rights accrued to maternity leave or a proper return. This started a pattern of what might be called “odds stacked against her”.

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