The number one question I've been asked isn't your ordinary question. It isn't, "Hey Sofia, how are you?" or "Hey Sofia, how are you so good at your job?" It's "How did you end up in America?"
Long story short, I was a collegiate tennis player for Arkansas State and I graduated and decided to be on a work visa. End of story. The end. This blog isn't about my golden ticket to the land of the free, but a little insight into how being an Aussie living in America has made me a better graphic designer.
First of all, there’s a 55% chance people don’t understand me
Rafaela, Sonia, Cynthia, Sofria, and Bluefia are the names that people hear when I tell them my name. Yes, this happens when I talk on the phone AND in person. Sometimes, these people don't say my name back to confirm that my name is correct. That has created a lot of problems for me, especially when I'm trying to pick up my food from a restaurant while I'm hangry (grr). The mishaps with my name have taught me that as a graphic designer, you need to double-check that names in any design, big or small, should be confirmed over email. I say email because it's a paper trail to show you did your due diligence to confirm all the details were right.
Anyways, here is a screenshot of my mum being a savage on my Facebook status
Despite Google at our fingertips, people believed my dog is a wombat
One Thanksgiving I was invited to my roommate's house to spend the holiday with her family. I got the usual questions "Is it hot there?" "How many of the most poisonous snakes do ya'll have." But, I decided to take advantage of this question; "Do you have a pet Kangaroo?" I answered, "No, but I have a pet wombat." I proceeded to show a picture of my pet dog, which is really on the chunky side. Everyone gasped. "A wombat! I've never seen one of those before!" Guess what? No one ever googled a wombat to see if I was joking. After two years of saying, "Yeah she's good thanks" in response to people's concerns for my wombat, I had to tell them the truth. They weren't angry, but did show disappointment that I didn't have one.
Surprisingly, this little lesson has transitioned to my everyday graphic design life. You sometimes have clients talking about facts and stats in their copy. As a graphic designer, it is your duty that if you can double-check these stats or facts – you should. If you do see a mistake, kindly tell your client. They will be pretty grateful and will feel that you care about their work as much as they do.
Here is my dog – I mean wombat:
I sometimes wondered if people liked me just because I’m Australian
Before I worked for JSDesigns, I worked at a marketing agency for trade shows with 200+ employees. I was the Marketing Designer, which meant I had to get along with basically everyone in the company to get work done. I felt one of my bosses liked me because I was a hard-working go-getter. However, that was going to change. I hear my name over the PA system. "Can Sofia Krs…., can Sofia come over to the conference room?" I thought this is it - they are about to ship my butt back to Australia in a crate. I stumbled upon my boss and a gentleman I never have seen before sitting in front of a projector showing a kangaroo. My boss, who was a higher-up who probably just learned my name that day, said, "Hey Sofia, Jim, and I have a question about Australia." I was a bit confused. I wondered if they could google a picture of a kangaroo, they surely could have googled what they were after. He proceeded to ask his question. "We were wondering if you had a pet kangaroo?"
Of course, I answered politely with a big smile and walked out. It was pretty unprofessional what he did, and I was able to apply that embarrassing experience to my career. It has taught me that people don't like you questioning their culture or birthplace in a professional setting. If you're in a professional setting, some questions are best left off the table to ensure that the person you're interacting with doesn't feel that you're not focusing on the task at hand. As a graphic designer, I would like to avoid our clients feeling how I did at that once instance by sticking to a professional dialogue.
Whatever, here is my pet kangaroo:
I'm not complaining about being here and putting up with some people's nonsense. I chose to stay and excel in my career here in America. I'm glad that both funny and embarrassing situations have been turned into lessons for me to become the best graphic designer I can be.