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Life after college can be a whirlwind of decisions and insecurities. You are trying to make yourself known, and figure out the workplace. Nicki Affonso-McMorrow has managed to figure out her life after college. She is in the middle of her three year work program at Dell in Austin, Texas.

“My co-hort is the first cohort. They bring on a lot of recent grads and you change teams every year for three years,” explained Affonso-McMorrow.

Affonso-McMorrow, graduated from Gonzaga University in 2014 with a BA in Business Administration, with a focus on supply chain management.

After graduation she started to look for jobs. She knew she liked the problem solving that came with supply chain. She found that Dell just launched a program and it would be a good environment for her.

“A lot of people thought that it was odd that I was leaving home [Silicon Valley] to go to Austin for a tech job. I think a lot of people think of only the heavy hitters, the Google and Facebook, when it comes to tech,” explained Affonso-McMorrow. “But you have to go where you and the culture fit.”

Austin has been a good fit for Affonso-McMorrow. She enjoys that some days, she can go really ‘Texas’ and find people in cowboy hats or go to a more modern place. Austin, as she describes it, is a good mix of Berkeley and Dallas.

Now, like some young adults, Affonso-McMorrow knows she is still entry-level in her career and realizes that, right now, she doesn’t have the luxury to say no. You gotta pay your dues.

“When I meet people that are my age and come into the workplace already saying, ‘I am not going to do this,’ it makes them look bad. They might think they are helping themselves, but they are just limiting themselves. I’m like guess what, if you are not willing to do the work, there are 10 people behind that are willing to do the work,” shared Affonso-McMorrow.

When it comes to networking, she urges young adults to network within their company first. Then go outside the company. “I hate those networking events, where everyone has name tags and it’s so awkward. No one talks to one another. I joined Young Women’s Alliance and help with their annual gala. You are working towards a cause, but you are networking as well,” explained Affonso-Mcmorrow.

But, Affonso-McMorrow has put in 14 hours days. She listens to her mentor and her mind to get through those long days.

“I had a mentor, that said, ‘look you know you’re going to work long hours so make the rest of your life easier’ and that’s what I do. I use Instacart to have my groceries delivered and other apps,” explained Affonso-McMorrow.

She also uses bad television such as “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” and “The Real Housewives” to turn off her mind. She doesn’t look up to the women on the shows, but she knows she has to shut off her mind from time to time. She turns on her shows and cuddles up to her fiance on the couch. He understands long hours, as he is an engineer at Samsung.

What makes their love story so cute is that it began when I met Affonso-McMorrow. She was in high school in Willow Glen, California-a suburb of San Jose. Yup, that’s right, they were high school sweethearts.

“We broke up, cold turkey, when we went off to college. Then we reconnected and moved to Austin together,” shared Affonso-McMorrow. I could feel the smile on her face over the phone, when we chatted.

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Well, Ms. Nicki Affonso-McMorrow watch as much bad television as you want with your fiance. You deserve it.

Hugs and Smiles,

Nicole