What I Wish I Knew: CNN's Dana Bash

"Understand that people you are dealing with are human and to treat them that way, especially the staff. Aides to politicians don't sign up for doing damage control on a sex scandal." Today's "What I Wish I Knew" feature is with Dana Bash, CNN's chief congressional correspondent and a familiar face for many Capitol Hill press secretaries. (A word to the uninitiated: It's pronounced "Dan-nuh.") A lightly edited transcript follows. Q. What was one of your earliest experiences? I was a college intern for NBC news in New York and got to help out at the Democratic convention. I still remember walking around the press areas in awe seeing all the journalists I admired. I was hooked. I knew then that was what I wanted to do.  

My pinch-me moment was getting on an elevator with my idol Katie Couric (who was with Jeff Zucker — ironic since he's now my boss. I never told him this story).  

So Over the Hill: Staffers Reflect Back

"As a congressional staffer, you don't really know what you're talking about. You're better off just admitting it." What better way to glean wisdom of the changing Capitol Hill dynamics than by talking to some of the long-serving staffers? Hill Navigator knows all too well that staffers have reputations to protect and bosses to defend; they can't be giving candid advice willy-nilly to whomever comes asking. So this is why we're asking people who have left Capitol Hill. The staff ID is turned in, the BlackBerry unplugged and their on-the-record, lightly edited thoughts follow.  

First up, Daniel Harsha , an eight-year Capitol Hill veteran who is moving to Boston to work at the Harvard Kennedy School's Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation as the associate director for communications.  

In Gmail We Trust

The House has mail.house.gov and the Senate has that ubiquitous underscore that never quite caught on with the rest of the email world. But sometimes those gmail and Yahoo accounts prevail in job listings. Worried that this could be anything less than official business? Hill Navigator discusses below.

What I Wish I Knew Then: Jake Tapper

Tapper penned "Capitol Hell" for Roll Call in the late '90s.

"Sometimes it’s easier to get noticed when you’re young by being meaner and crueler than anyone else. But ultimately that can catch up with you."

Today's feature is with Jake Tapper, anchor of "The Lead With Jake Tapper" and CNN's senior Washington correspondent. Way back, Tapper worked right here at Roll Call as a cartoonist of the aptly named "Capitol Hell" feature. Here are his words of wisdom.

What I Wish I Knew Then: Arnie Thomas

“If you want someone who never made a mistake, ask a prophet.”

Today’s “What I Wish I Knew Then” is with Arnie Thomas, president & CEO of the A Thomas Group LLC. Previously, he served as senior vice president at CQ Roll Call and as the director of LEGI-SLATE at The Washington Post.

What I Wish I Knew: Melanie Sloan

If someone tells you “everybody does it,” or “that is just how things are done here,” don’t believe it; that is kindergarten logic.

This week, Melanie Sloan, the executive director for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, gives her answers for "What I Wish I Knew." Sloan gives hope to all of us who have ever worked in the food industry for putting table-waiting skills to good use.

What I Wish I Knew: Larry Purpuro

"When I am in a meeting with three or more people, usually the smartest person in the room is not found speaking."

For this week's "What I Wish I Knew," Hill Navigator turns to Larry Purpuro, a senior policy adviser at DLA Piper who is proud to have gotten his start answering constituent mail. His record "day high" for responses? 38 letters.

What I Wish I Knew Then: Gloria Story Dittus

"Talent will take you to the top, but only character will keep you there."

Wise words from Gloria Story Dittus, chairman of Story Partners, a public affairs firm in Washington, D.C.

What I Wish I Knew Then: Eric Dezenhall

Hill Navigator doesn't claim to know all the answers. I read each and every question, and every attempt is made to provide a framework for solving work-related problems, especially those pertaining to Capitol Hill staff.

But sometimes the best resource is outside counsel.