Stephanie Hayman, Hauppauge native and Stony Brook graduate, returned to campus virtually on Sept. 22 to talk to students about her book, “Surviving My First Decade in Corporate America.”
Hayman attended Stony Brook for her undergraduate degree from 2008-2012 as a business major with a concentration in marketing. She attended again from 2015-2018 for her Masters of Business Administration.
“I would say that college is nice in-between time; you’re graduating from childhood, you’re coming into your own as an adult, but you still kind of have that security blanket of college. And then you take a leap, regardless of where you are going careerwise, it’s different,” Hayman said.
After graduation Hayman began working as a marketing assistant specialist at Canon USA. She knew she would be hired in early 2012 after she had gotten an internship through Stony Brook’s Career Center during the summer before her senior year. Hayman worked for Canon for five years from May 2011 to June 2016.
After leaving Canon, she moved to another company where she worked for three months. Hayman withheld the company name to avoid damaging its reputation.
“I was pretty miserable, actually. It’s one of my favorite career stories to tell now that I can look back on it, but in the midst of it, it was really difficult for me,” Hayman said. “About a month in, I knew the position wasn’t right for me between the company dynamic, a difficult boss, who was a manager rather than a leader, and the lack of workload.”
She added that the “worst part was knowing I took the job based on salary increase alone, and it made me realize that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.”
Then she moved to a digital advertising agency in Melville, NY. She called the move a “total saving grace, personally and career wise.”
In 2013, Hayman started a blog about dating and relationships. Her first post went up on Feb. 13, the day before Valentine’s Day, after Hayman was broken up with the night before.
As her blog became more popular, Hayman took another writing opportunity in 2014 at Elite Daily. She was one of their first writers before they offered paid positions. Working as a featured dating writer, she wrote 17 pieces over a year, because Elite Daily moved to be a bigger publication.
“It was a really fun experience because I was able to pitch my own concepts and topics and I worked with an editor who would kind of approve or disprove what my pitches were,” Hayman said.
Hayman recognizes that her time at Elite Daily prepared her for writing her book and gave her drive and motivation. One of her articles, “25 Reasons Not to Settle Down before turning 25,” was shared more than a thousand times. That was the point when she decided she enjoyed writing.
Hayman describes herself as very driven, determined and hardworking.
“I’m kind of somebody that likes constantly working towards a goal,” Hayman said. “For instance, I have a full time job, I’m actually working right now from home. When I was writing my book I would get up at 5 am to work on it.”
She was largely inspired to write her book because after her company was acquired in 2019, she was unsure of the fate of her job. She was in a new industry, had just bought a house with her fiance and was also planning her wedding.
“It was just kind of a collision of everything at once,” she said.
She started writing articles published on her Linkedin to further prove her credibility and depth as a knowledgeable business woman. She quickly had a following, some of her pieces were published in CONNECT Magazine, a retail-oriented publication that is geared towards Independent Software Vendors and Value Added Resellers in the retail industry.
“By December or so I said to myself, you know you had these really interesting experiences,” Hayman said. “I had a ton of stories I could tell, starting from when I was 21, really getting into the thick of it, transitioning from college to career,”
A friend of Hayman’s — a New York Times bestselling author — told her to just go for it.
“So then one day, literally, I was sitting down and writing these little stories and that’s kind of how the book was born,” Hayman said.
Her goal was simple — she did not care so much about the sales, as she did about having her voice heard and giving back to people who are in the same position she was in five to 10 years earlier.
“I want to impart on them the wisdom and knowledge that I picked up over time,” Hayman said. “It’s okay to fail, you can pick yourself back up and restart. It’s okay if you’re rejected, personal and professional worlds will always collide. Everyone struggles and you can come out on top.”