A New Day, A New Job


January 29, 2010

Today is a big day for me.  It is my last day with Fleishman Hillard, Inc.

I’ve never written about my employer on my blog before but since this is my last day, I want to say a few words about Fleishman Hillard, Inc. For those who are not familiar with them, FH is an outstanding global PR agency.  I cannot tell you how many colleagues I have there who really are some of the smartest, nicest, most innovative people.   And, if it wasn’t for the digital courses offered there, I would have never started this blog or learned to use Twitter.  For that, I am grateful.  So, if you are in need of public relations services, please be sure to check out their site.

I would like to give special recognition to Bill Garber, Patty Slocomb, and Georgia Constantin for being the support system for me.  I learned so much from you.  I’d also like to recognize two of my “digital buddies” Brian Batchelder and Chris Frede.  We’ve learned a lot from each other on how to use the social media space.

I am excited to tell you that I will be starting a new position on Monday as a HR Business Partner at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

SLCH is one of the top pediatric hospitals in the country.  It is also the pediatric teaching hospital for Washington University School of Medicine, ranked the 3rd best medical school in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.    Most importantly, it is also the hospital I trust my own children’s health with.

I am thrilled to be joining one of the most innovative HR teams I know of.  Their vision of the future of HR aligns with so many of the discussions that were prevalent at HRevolution and other more recent conferences.  I am excited to use my social media skills to enhance the HR department.

So, as I prepare for my first day, here are my questions for you:

  • What is the one thing I should definitely do or think of when starting a new job?
  • What is the one thing I should NOT do?

I’m hoping for some serious advice as well as some fun “what not to do’s” in my comments. Thanks for your support my friends.


  • Hi Trish! I am wishing you the Very best on your New opportunity. CONGRATULATIONS!
    My advice to you is to “just be your wonderful self” I look forward to you coming posts about the new job. The only thing I would (Not) do is to stress. You Rock Trish!

  • First and foremost – congratulations and good luck. Although luck is what you count on when you don’t have the skills – and you got skills.

    So what to do – listen, learn.

    There is a story I heard once about Henry Ford and how he hired his staff. He said he would do the interview over lunch and watch to see if the candidate salted his/her food before tasting it. His point was that if you salted your food before tasting it meant the candidate probably would make decisions without learning the real issues – and once salted you can’t un-salt it.

    While I don’t know if this is the best way to determine a candidates qualifications it is a good rule of thumb – assess first – prescribe second.

    The one thing I learned from that story is that a good leader doesn’t assume their first task is to make changes – but to see what has been done and is being done. Listen first. Act second. Often new hires want to make an impact immediately and don’t take the time to really understand what is going on and what has gone on. History is context and can explain a lot about the present.

    What not to do – do it all yourself

    Again, IMHO – new hires or new people new to positions have a desire to show the company they made the right decision by getting the work done by themselves. Real leaders, lead – not do. I’m assuming your new employer hired a leader and they will be looking for that. Resist the temptation to do it all yourself to “prove” they made a good decision.

    I’m sure these are things that are second nature to you – but I couldn’t resist throwing in my 2cents.

    If you ever need any help – let me know.

    PS – your new employer will let you do HRevolution 2 – The Legacy?

  • Trish, one of the best parts of my journey, my digital immigrant journey en route to becoming a semi-native, has been meeting and learning from HR leaders like you. I can’t tell you how encouraged I am for the future of the HR profession because of my HR leader tweeps, and that’s coming from a woman who has watched this profession as long as anyone has done. I wish you every success in this next phase of your own professional life journey and do have some advice. This is just the next phase of your journey, the next stop along the road. Do your very best while you’re there but don’t forget that the road is out there and beckoning. Serve the folks who pay you to the best of your ability but don’t lose your passport/visa/guide books. In your new position, figure out what three things in HRM would make a real difference in essential business outcomes and get those done no matter how much of the other HRM stuff tries to suck the air out of every day. Warm regards, Naomi

  • What a lovely tribute to your employers, you are an excellent leader in the world of “how to leave right”.

    My advice is similar to Paul’s. Assess the situation and then make recommendations for change. We all want to jump in and “fix” it, so try to resist the urge.

    And what NOT to do? Don’t use the phrase “we did it this way at FH”. Nothing is more irritating to your new employer than hearing how wonderful your old employer was.

    Remember to come up for air. We get engrossed in a new opportunity because there is so much to learn and do – but we tend to lose ourselves in that process until things settle. Take time for those must haves in your personal life. They are still important.

    Now, knowing what a great HR pro you are, these things are probably “no brainers” – but you did ask!

    Congratulations on the new position. Take a deep breath, they will love you, just like the rest of the Trish Fan Club.

    • @Shennee- Thank you for the well wishes. You’re definitely right about being myself and not stressing. Since I wasn’t really prepared for the interview in advance, I was completely at ease during the process and they met “real Trish”. So, it will be easy to go in tomorrow and just be me.

      @Paul- I respect you so much and for you to say I have skills really means a lot to me. Thank you. I love the Henry Ford example. I was not familiar with it. It makes a great point. And, your suggestions for do’s and don’ts will be taken to heart as I begin down this new path. p.s. They are definitely supportive of “HRevolution 2” (aka ‘HRevolution 2: Judgement Day’ according to @akabruno). lol

      @Naomi- Thank you for the advice Naomi. I can tell you that without social media and you becoming a semi-native I would never have met you. Now, to have you as someone in my corner, cheering me on, and teaching me about what really makes for a good career is amazing. Thank you for sharing all your wisdom. I know I’ll lean on you as I start this phase of the journey. Thank you my friend.

      @Tammy- Thank you for the compliment Tammy. What you say about not saying “we did it this way at FH” is SO true. I am going to take your advice and commit to NEVER saying that. Not even once. Thank you for always supporting me and lifting me up. I value you so much.

  • congrats – while I work in the agency space (22squared, large independent in ATL – Buffalo Wild Wings, Shoe Carnival, Toyota, Lincoln Financial, Florida’s Natural among others as clients) and left large corporate America to be an owner and broad leader in an insane paced environment, I cant imagine a more fulfilling organization than one dedicated to care of children – what an amazing way to tie the purpose of work, the calling of work to real day to day deeply personal lives – so far beyond ROI, margins, etc.
    That said, I am a big fan of the book The First 90 Days – a very good practical guide for any leader stepping into a new role – promotion or new company. Assume and know you are the newcomer to an existing culture – as said by others, listen, take notes, journal, and follow the suggestions of the first 90 days. Have fun.

  • Trish,

    Congratulations on your new role and kudos to you for making a gracious exit from your previous employer. Many can learn from your example.

    My suggestion: The first week, ask as many people as you can: “Who in this organization do I need to get to know, and why?” Prioritize your list and then set about making lunch and coffee break appointments. During every meeting, position yourself as a business partner and ask open ended questions: “What are the top 2 business issues preventing you from moving forward?” “How can HR help you remove those barriers?”

    It’s so easy to get “sucked in” to your daily duties and the on-boarding process that these “nice to have” meetings get pushed to the side. Resist the temptation to put it off. These meetings will help build your new coalition of supporters, just as you had at your previous employer.

    Good luck!

  • Trish,

    I am truly going to miss working with you but am excited about your new opportunity. You have definitely found your niche and I’m glad that you’re going to be able to leverage your HR expertise coupled with your social media skills in your new role. I hope you’ll be able to carve out some time for some gooey butter cake and Schlafly next time I’m in town.


  • I, along with so many other “Trish & HR Ringleader” fans, wish you the very very best!

    One thing to definitely do? Make sure you have a good-hair-day and wear a photogenic outfit on Monday. That will, no doubt, be picture taking day. Picture for the intranet, picture for the online company directory, and picture for the employee ID badge that you will probably be wearing for years to come.

    You will be a super addition to their team!

    • @Mike- I have not read the book ‘The First 90 Days’ but I will go buy a copy. What a perfect time to start a plan to achieve real integration into a new role. I also loved your suggestion about journaling so I bought a journal today and plan to carry it around with me at work and make lots of notes. I also watched a great Dateline NBC episode tonight that was about the Arkansas Children’s Hospital. I think it gave me some additional insight that starting work at a children’s hospital is very different from any other work environment. Thank you for the suggestion about the book.

      @Jennifer- Your suggestion was so great. I mentioned my new journal in my response to Mike and the first thing I wrote in the journal was
      “Who in this organization do I need to get to know, and why?” and “What are the top 2 business issues preventing you from moving forward?” “How can HR help you remove those barriers?” I can’t wait to learn what those questions help me uncover.

      @Brian- You are an amazing recruiter and I loved working with you. I credit you completely for opening my eyes to Twitter and how it can be used for business. I wouldn’t be where I am today without you. You better definitely make time for a visit to STL soon. But, enjoy Miami first!

      @Robin- You made me smile with the ‘fans’ comment! Thank you. And, what an important reminder. You know I am getting a badge made tomorrow that I will have to wear for years to come, so I took your advice and got a new haircut/ color yesterday so I am ready for it. 🙂

  • I’m excited for you, Trish—break a leg! I know you’ll make the most of your long, extended, sure-to-be-refreshing 2-day wind-down period that you’ve got coming up here starting tomorrow, too. 😉

    Do: Say hi to folks. No matter how easy it may be to solve a problem by yourself, find an excuse to ask someone for help. You’ll never have an easier time to start building relationships than on your first day. And just think of the stuff you can learn! How many people will be willing to share with you their ideas, visions, and challenges…!

    Don’t: Make any assumptions. Until you have a lay of the land, you may want to treat all information as suspect until confirmed by you. Don’t let anyone tell you who you should avoid/who’s a problem or anything like that. Let them talk—take it all in—but take your time and make up your own mind!

  • Make a list of things that were your brilliant ideas at your previous jobs and see if you have an opportunity (and a place in the culture) to suggest/implement those ideas at your new company.

  • Congratulations on the new gig Trish! Looks like you’ve gotten some great advice already, so I’ll be brief.

    First Day Do: Meet with your new team and share some information about who you are as a person, co-worker and leader/manager. Tell them how you like to work, but let them know that you’re more interested in learning about them and how they best work. There’s always a lot of concerns from team members when they get a new boss. Help them to see you’re not that bad. 🙂

    First Day Don’t (and forever don’): Resist, resist, resist the temptation to say “in my last job”. Most people do and don’t realize it. But most people also don’t realize how annoying it is to hear. If you did something different, better, worse in your last job than they do in your new one and want to acknowledge it, ask some questions and either praise the situation as being more awesome than anything you’ve ever seen, or share an “idea” that your team members can consider to see if they think it will make the situation better.

    This sounds like a great opportunity for you that is a fantastic cultural match! I’m so excited for you!

  • Congratulations, Trish. A new job is always exciting and challenging. All the advice so far is good. Listen, learn the culture. One thing that hasn’t been mentioned that I always tell coaching clients taking on a new job/assignment is: assess your reputation with your new colleagues. This has always been an issue, but it’s become more intense with social media. So, as far as they’re concerned, What are you known for now? And, is that what you want?

  • I think you have the start of a new book here in these comments – The Do’s and Dont’s of a New Job –

    Congratulations. Read Paul Heberts comments twice and what ever you do – don’t bring fish or or curry to heat in the microwave for lunch early in your employment. It doesn’t make friends!


    • @Seiden- So true what you say about not making assumptions. I am definitely going to be in relationship building mode for several months. I plan on listening far more than I talk. I’ll also take your approach by asking people what I can do to help them instead of wondering what they can do for me. Thank you for your friendship and your advice.

      @Ben- You know me FAR too well. 🙂 I definitely have many ideas that needed a different culture to flourish so I am excited to be joining a collaborative environment so I can see if any will work there. Thank you for being such a great support to me.

      @Jennifer and @Wally- I think you both touch on a similar thing- showing the team who I really am. And, finding out what they already know about me. I think social media will work in my favor from that standpoint because who I am online is the “real” me. thank you both for your sage advice and for helping me start this chapter on the right foot.

      @Lois- You’re right- it would make a great e-book. I’m planning to take that advice, and my new journal and make notes over my first several months there to talk about how all the suggestions worked (or didn’t) and what I learned in the process. AND, your comment about making fish for lunch cracked me up. I made fish several times in my last two weeks at the last job. 🙂 I’m sure they’ll be happy that won’t be happening tomorrow.

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About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.


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