Courtney Gooch
What difficulties did you face at the beginning of your career?
I’ve had very few so far; I was fortunate to land in a great place out of school with an environment that was nurturing and people who were supportive. In hindsight, any perceived disappointments that I experienced allowed me to be open for a better opportunity down the road. The difficulty, then, is being aware of that at the time.
What should a young designer do in order not to get hired by anybody?
My dad told me once that success is based on the three A’s — Affability, Availability, and Ability. I have found this to be true for myself, and inversely, it is tough to get hired if you are unpleasant, closed to the opportunity, and bad at your job.
Are there any things you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?
I am still at the beginning of my career! But I continue to be surprised that design is about 30% designing, and 70% communicating, managing, and forming good relationships with people. Learn to be good at all of those things.
Are there any rules or habits that help you do your job more efficiently?
I get 9 hours of sleep. My friends make fun of me, but I’ve never been able to function with less so I make it a priority. I also get up early and spend an hour in the morning with my coffee, mentally planning for the day. I find that if I get up and rush to work I end up feeling scattered and unprepared. And of course, lot’s of lists.
Would you recommend some books that young designers might find useful?
Read a lot and don’t limit yourself to design books. It’s good to know your design history, but you should also know who Howard Roark is, and what’s happening on the other side of the world. Some favorites: Invisible Cities, Einstein’s Dreams, The Unbearable Lightness of Being,  and Atlas Shrugged.
Courtney answered the questions on August 11, 2014.
The answers were published on August 18, 2014.