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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

Steve, USA

Marketing & Account Management, Advertising  ->  First Grade Teaching, Elementary School

Steve looks very much like the classic case of an encore actor. He had spent his entire career in the advertising industry, mostly in New York, where he eventually led media departments. He lapped up the glamour, the rush and the pressure of his industry. However, when he and his wife decided to seek out a calmer place in which to raise a family, he took a role as account director in a large Chicago firm. Three firms and hectic roles later, when their twins were born, Steve decided to go part-time in order to help out on the home front. He was, as he admits, starting to feel burnout anyway. It was clear to him that spending more time with family was a greater priority than selling more advertising.

Daniel, France

Sales & General Management, Kaufman & Broad  ->  Founder, Fondation Daniel and Martine Raze

Daniel is a natural networker who spent the entirety of his “first act” career at Kaufman & Broad, a real estate developer. At the age of 58, Daniel decided to move on. The exact timing was influenced by the fact that his company—previously a large, paternalistic family business–had been bought by a venture capital fund. He allotted a couple of years to manage the transition, and to decide exactly what he wanted to do. Fortunately, Daniel’s stock options were worth a small fortune. He’d passed them on to the foundation that he set up. Daniel’s attention was drawn to a project in Togo and Benin, and thus the first money from the Foundation was allocated.

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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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Erik, USA

Professional actor and opera singer  ->  Executive in marketing, ecommerce and digital strategy at public companies

Erik was confident and persuasive from the very beginning, and had his fingers in multiple pies early on. In high school he was the soccer star and the lead in musical theatre while also excelling academically, and his social circle was just as eclectic as his interests. Continuing the same approach, he went to university with a plan to study economics on a Navy ROTC scholarship that would have prepared him to become a naval officer, but pursued studies in acting and singing in-stead. In the summer after his junior year Erik attended a training program for opera singers that fueled his passion for the art, and his decision upon graduation was to pursue a master’s degree in opera singing.

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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”.

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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