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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

Ramon, Dominican Republic

Consultant, Monitor Deloitte   ->  Co-Founder & Executive Director, Emzingo

Born in the Dominican Republic, Ramon emigrated to the U.S. with his family when he was five years old. While starting at university, Ramon noticed that there were “not many brown or black faces” around him, and he started to question what kind of system could have brought this about. During the first week at his first job after graduation, fate struck to underline Ramon’s feelings. As the Twin Towers fell, he asked himself if he was truly doing what he should be doing – he had heard Steve Jobs’s legendary commencement speech earlier, and it had marked him. Ramon found makeshift ways over the next four to five years to contribute more, but the real shift occurred while at business school in Spain, where he met a group of like-minded people.

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Michael, United States

Senior global marketing roles in consumer goods, entertainment and tech industries   ->  Software Engineer at Pear Therapeutics

Growing up in a military family, Michael moved more than 30 times around the world and the U.S. After getting a degree in economics and an MBA, he worked for many years as a marketer at Kraft Foods. He even did a stint as a professional rock musician, gaining local fame in New York, while keeping his day job. Marriage to a screenwriter brought Michael to the West Coast, where he first worked for Mattel. Later he was the global marketing lead of The Sims franchise at Electronic Arts. Living in San Francisco, he inevitably heard the call of the start-up and became CMO of a fledgling robotics firm, then the co-founder of a mobile app start-up. That was when he realised the importance of proper coding skills. In fundraising meetings, investors kept asking, “Can you code?”

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Marie, France

Strategy and program management at General Electric   ->  CEO, Co-Founder, Chief Innovation Officer of various startups

A true global cosmopolitan, Marie grew up on a farm in France. She completed her PhD in chemical biology in Singapore, before going to China to study its language and culture. She started her career with GE, as the first member of a new R&D team in China. Based in the U.S., her boss essentially told her: “You can do it – just go and figure it out”. In many ways, it was a lot like working in a start-up. When Marie eventually transferred to the Boston office, a colleague commented that she was “way too entrepreneurial to be working at GE”, which was true to a large extent. As she was contemplating leaving, serendipity stepped in: Her division was sold and in 2011, GE and Marie parted ways.

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Ricardo, Spain

Audit, Operations and general management and HR in BNP Paribas

When Ricardo’s parents required him to return to his home country to obtain his Spanish degree on top of his European “grande école” qualification in business, they probably did not realize that they were changing his professional path completely. He left Paris with two enviable offers from consumer companies in hand to complete his Spanish diploma. By the time he returned to France, a year later, economic conditions had changed and he was no longer welcome in the same area. So he returned to Spain, in the hope of being able to play on his multilingual strengths as well as his experience and academics to date.

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Anabel, UK

Partner / Chief Operating Officer, Pensions First   ->  Chief Operating Officer, Save the Children

Anabel says she had little experience in not-for-profit work, apart from a short project in Sierra Leone during her degree work in Human Sciences, as well as volunteer work in the U.K. with underprivileged children. She is perhaps too modest, as many of us have done far less than that. When Anabel says that purpose work “was not on her radar,” perhaps she means she did not see it as a legitimate way to make a living. She had spent ten years building a massive capacity as a leader and motivator of teams at world-class companies such as Virgin and Carphone Warehouse, and so had developed a taste for being challenged and stretched in this context.

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Mary, USA

Professional actor   ->  Director, Training & Development at Bumble and bumble, coach and facilitator

Mary’s practical disposition gave her a balanced start in her acting career, and allowed her to build her craft carefully. She had been painfully shy in childhood, but took advantage of a move to a new neighborhood and high school to let her theatrical juices flow, getting involved in all aspects of drama, and moving on to a Theater major in university. By this time she was hooked, but she felt a need for a plan B, dipping her toes into various linked areas such as broadcast journalism and psychology. None of the alternatives felt quite right, however, though she did realize that they were all somehow linked to a “connection with people”.  She auditioned for graduate school, did well, and made the inevitable move to New York city in 1990.

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