“It’s okay to move on. Follow through on your word, but it’s okay to pivot or stop something if it’s not working.”
Jamie Corley is co-founder of TheBridge, a newsletter and jobs board that connects and translates news, jobs and people between Silicon Valley and Washington, DC.
Years in tech industry?
2+ years. Before starting TheBridge, I worked as a press secretary for six years in the U.S. Congress, both in the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Who or what inspired your career in tech?
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I enjoy thinking of creative ways to solve problems, and I like building things from scratch. I think I was born with a thick skin, so I’m not very fearful of taking risks or failing. Working at LaunchCode, a tech nonprofit that teaches people how to code then places them into apprenticeships and jobs, showed me that working in tech and being of service to my community can go hand-in-hand. I thought about that when I was building TheBridge–it has to be both intellectually challenging while also serving a bigger purpose.
What’s been your best hack ever?
I hand-write my to-do list every morning in my black Moleskine notebook. I tried keeping it on a Google doc and using other management tools like Trello, but I always return to the simplicity of a bulleted list.
What has been your greatest career challenge and how have you handled it?
Leaving Capitol Hill without a job lined up. I allowed myself to not have all of the answers and trust that when the right opportunity presented itself, I would take it. I also did a lot of research. I probably listened to 100 podcasts, read 20 books and countless articles over a six month span. BrainPickings is a great resource for anyone looking to do some deeper self-reflection. After Capitol Hill, I ended up working in San Francisco, CA and eventually founded my own startup. Little did I know that the career transition from politics to tech would inspire TheBridge two years later. Part of our mission is to help people translate their skills from one coast for a career on the other.
What is your biggest career success to date?
Launching TheBridge in November 2016!
What are the top 3 pieces of advice you would give to women who are starting out in the tech industry?
1. Be patient. Your time and energy are valuable. Spend it on something you’re truly passionate about.
2. Find a mentor.
3. It’s okay to move on. Follow through on your word, but it’s okay to pivot or stop something if it’s not working. Check out “The Upside of Quitting” on Freakonomics to get an idea of what I mean.
Who are your role models?
My former boss Senator Shelley Moore Capito, the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from West Virginia. She’s down-to-earth, listens intently and has a great sense of humor.
If you could go back in time, what’s one tip you’d give your teenage self?
Don’t slow down. People are going to tell you to chill out. Ignore them. Having ambitious plans and the tenacity to see them through will help you. Also, stop procrastinating!
What do you do when you’re not kicking butt at work?
Meditation and yoga. I meditate and journal every morning. It helps me put both successes and challenges into perspective. I like to remind myself to keep it simple and that there are really no big deals.
Flats, heels or kicks?
Wedges if I have a meeting. Vans for everyday wear.
Best career advice book? I Dare You by William Danforth.
Who are the women in tech that you most admire and why?
Sheryl Sandberg. She’s a huge reason why we’re having conversations at the national level about maternity leave, fair pay and the lack of women in leadership positions. I also admire the women who learned how to code through LaunchCode. Many of them had no prior tech experience and often taught themselves how to program while working full-time. Their perseverance is inspiring.