I was asked what I thought of the ninth recommendation among Julie Steinberg’s “nine rules women must follow to get ahead”: Dress well and play golf.
“You need to learn how to play golf. You don’t have to be good, but you have to be competent enough to be invited for quality bonding time.”
The idea of recommending a woman take on a sport or hobby that is popular with male colleagues but which she wouldn’t have pursued otherwise is, in my opinion, absurd and bound to be self-defeating. Moreover, there is no evidence whatever provided for this recommendation, aside from a single anecdote by a woman who already played golf and found she was able to confront her boss on the putting green. Of course in academia, golf isn’t big, and the article is geared toward women in business, I take it. Still, it strikes me as bad advice, and would be bound to backfire. Once it is plain that you did it to try and fit in, you’re sure to be the laughing stock, at least among the wives (who would shoot daggers your way). The one piece of social advice I’d give women in a majority male workplace (i.e., advice pertaining not at all to improving job competency) is to “disarm” the wives. In a long list of “social” recommendations I read, no one mentioned this.