This is the opening article in a Human Relations special issue on 'Interdisciplinary approaches to contemporary career studies'. After introducing a story of an 'exceptional - but real' career, we argue for an urgent shift toward greater interdisciplinary inquiry. We reflect on the story to describe differences in the way each of psychology, sociology, social psychology, and economics views the concept of career. We turn to explore what career researchers, representing each of the above social sciences, might not see on their own. In contrast, we highlight how social scientists can move toward a) appreciating the limitations of our separate approaches, b) introducing more appropriate research methods, c) maintaining a wider cross-disciplinary conversation, and d) better serving the client - the person - in our future research. We continue with a preview of the remaining five articles in this special issue, and propose that these can serve as stimuli for a wider conversation. © 2011 The Author(s).