What You Can Learn when Negotiating Salary from My First and Only Golf Game when I Hit Two Holes-in-One

OK. It was not actually a game. But I did get two holes-in-one.

Years ago, as a director of Marketing, I was working a charity golf event. Prior to the start of play, I was standing by the putting green (I think that’s what it’s called) next to the club house. One of the players asked me if I played and I said no. He then handed me his putter and told me to give it a try.

I placed the ball on the ground at an acceptable distance from the hole. I surveyed the grass pretending that I knew what I was doing. Rose. Took a fake swing next to the ball. Took a deep breath. Did the “Hello ball!” routine from The Honeymooners. (If you are too young to know to what I am referring, LOOK IT UP! It’s one of the funniest scenes in television history, almost as good as Sammy Davis, Jr. kissing Archie Bunker – and if you don’t know what that is then you are an uneducated, uncultured, uncivilized heathen who should not be permitted access to the general public, children or puppies!) Hit the ball and, of course, it went it.

Everyone laughed. I admitted “beginner’s luck” and went to the other end of the green, placed the ball, aimed, hit and, of course, it too went in.

I then handed the putter back to it’s owner and said, “Thanks. This game is not for me. I like something with a challenge.”

I don’t have to tell you the reaction as I walked away in smug triumph.

I was reminded of this a few minutes ago when a career counseling client called to ask my advice. He had just been offered a job. As I had taught him, he negotiated a higher salary because he did not need some of the benefits the company offered.

After they had agreed to his request, he said that he just wanted to discuss it with his wife and promised to get back to them within the hour. (They wanted it settled today; there was a second finalist.) He could not reach her so he called me. As he was going home, he realized that there was something else he wanted. It was a “want,” not a “need.” He asked if I thought he should reopen the negotiations.

I told him my golf story and ended with, “Quit while you’re ahead!”


Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter, career counselor and business advisor. His posts on LinkedIn have been read over a quarter of a million times and have garnered national and international media attention.  In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, he chairs their Entrepreneurs Network, hosts their weekly podcast – The Voice of Manhattan Business – and serves as an Ambassador. An advocate for the protection of job seekers, visit the homepage of his website, www.hsstaffing.com, to read about questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies and to learn about his upcoming speaking engagements.