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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

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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Olivier, France

Director Technologies, Caisse des Dépôts   ->  Director Public Affairs, Alcatel Lucent (now Nokia)

Olivier, an engineering graduate was seeking a career in industry, and joined the French global telecommunications company, Alcatel-Lucent hoping to be offered an expatriate post.  A year later he found himself working in the U.S.  While the work was fascinating, and he liked the culture, after seven years he felt the “itch” to move on, and left the giant for a small internet-based start-up. Two years on, the company failed, and although Olivier had a Green Card, he chose to return to France where he joined the French public finance institution, “Caisse des Dépôts”. The work was enjoyable enough but after six years he realized he preferred industry and application over theory and advice, so when offered the chance to return to Alcatel he had no hesitation in accepting.

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John, UK

Olympic Rower   ->  Senior Policy Analyst, WaterAid

By the time John went to Cambridge University, he was already a national champion rower at schoolboy level, and had experienced different racing conditions all over Europe.  By his second year at Cambridge, he was a member of the British team. His rise was swift and he says it was this momentum which helped him grasp at every new opportunity. John went on to combine a career, first in the city for a merchant bank and then in the civil service while training full-time for the national squad. 

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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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Marta, Peru, Spain

Marketing Director, SSP International   ->  CEO Wasi Organics

Marta, a native Peruvian who is now the Founder and CEO of Wasi Organics, left her home country for study in Spain after high school. Later, she took increasingly senior marketing roles at major companies across Europe and the USA. Along the way, she completed an MBA at INSEAD, which further broadened her already very global outlook. The trigger for Marta’s return to Peru was an invitation from a headhunter in London to take a CEO position. Intrigued that she was now perceived as a potential CEO, she started to think hard about what she really wanted to do. Swiftly, she concluded that she wanted her own business and to give back in some way to Peru. This was Marta’s twentieth year in Europe and at that point, eight years ago, she returned home.

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Romain, France

Master in Management ESCP Europe   ->  Business Development Manager, EO ASIA Pte Ltd

Frenchman Romain has already adapted to more than five cultures and languages in just under 30 years of life. He grew up in a fortunate environment, in which his family perceived travel and exploration as important and had the means to live out these values. He was educated bilingually in the international section of the lycée near his home in Toulouse, and his vacation jobs included managing a resort in Greece for a local travel company. So, it was hardly a surprise that he chose to take a semester during his business studies in Paris, to experience campus life in China. He aimed to have a career in Asia, at whatever cost.

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