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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

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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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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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?

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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Tey, Syria

Syrian refugee   ->  Bitcoin evangelist and tech entrepreneur

After his parents’ divorce, Tey moved to Lebanon with his Syrian father. Growing up in a warzone, Tey remembers a childhood punctuated with the frequent sound of jets and rockets overhead and no toys to play with other than rocks. After studying at a top Lebanese university, Tey became a consultant for the city of Beirut. The 2005 assassination of the country’s former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri had a profound effect on him and Tey decided to move to Dubai. However, in Dubai, his experience counted for nothing and his Syrian passport was a hindrance. Reduced to folding jeans in a boutique, he often cried himself to sleep.

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Gayle, USA

Sales & Consulting, Hewlett- Packard   ->  Encore Fellow, Second Harvest Food Bank

Gayle started her career in IT sales. Her mother was a lifetime IBM-er, and Gayle grew up intending to avoid the same fate. However, after studying mathematics and computer science at UCSB in California, she accepted a job with HP.  She moved her way up rapidly, becoming a manager at 25, and joining the pioneering consulting arm of the company shortly thereafter. Global responsibilities came along, and she was extremely happy with her progress. Eventually, rapid changes at HP left her gradually more frustrated by the resulting culture. So when Gayle was offered a “phased” retirement at the age of 56, she accepted the offer. In her mind, however, her career was most definitely not over.

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