10 toughest career dilemmas - solved

From whether it's time to change jobs, to secrets for getting into business school, to advice on surviving an office romance, here are excerpts from some of the top Ask Annie columns of the year.

Must I play golf to get ahead?
Must I play golf to get ahead?
At your company, do all the top executives (and wannabe bigwigs) play golf? If so, you better learn the game too, says Hilary Bruggen, who may be a tiny bit biased: A former head of global marketing for KPMG, she quit that job to start and run Strelmark (www.strelmark.com), a Washington, D.C., firm that conducts corporate golf-etiquette workshops.

Still, Bruggen speaks from personal experience: "I got the job as head of global marketing at KPMG in large part because top management knew me - and they knew me from the golf course."

Executives "who are not golfing are choosing to neglect one of the most powerful business and career-development tools there is," she adds.

And while the golf course has traditionally been dominated by men, consider this: In a 2004 survey of 1,000 women golfers, 73% said that the game had helped them develop important business relationships, and over half said that being able to talk knowledgeably about golf had contributed to their success, according to the poll, by Golf for Women magazine, investment firm Oppenheimer, and insurer MassMutual.

Another study, by nonprofit research group Catalyst, found that, among 705 women managers at Fortune 1,000 companies, 41% said that not participating in informal social networks held them back at work, and the informal networking activity they mentioned most was...well, you can guess.

So why not invest in a few lessons from a pro? Even if you're not athletic, "the most important thing is cementing good relationships on the course, not whether you're Tiger Woods," says Bruggen. "People don't do business with people they dislike or distrust, so your aim should be to build likability."

Last updated December 19 2007: 7:58 AM ET
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