I was driving home from the store this evening and happened to see someone pulled over to the side of the rode “chatting with” one of Ann Arbor’s finest. She didn’t look happy about it for some reason. I can’t understand it since it looked like he was giving her a greeting card of some kind. What a nice guy!

Of course, our good men and women in blue are just there to make sure everyone follows the law so that we all stay safe — a noble and necessary calling — one for which they rarely receive thanks. As I continued to drive and reflect on their role in society, my mind turned to thoughts of whimsy. What if we had “networking enforcement officers”? What kind of tickets would they write? Here’s a few that I came up with:

Parking Ticket. This would be issued to anyone at a networking event who chooses to grab a seat at a table without first completing their networking goals. This is a relatively minor offense, but if you get too many of them, your networking license can be revoked.

Speeding. Anyone who tried to ask for some benefit which exceed the relationship that they had established so far would be in danger of receiving one of these bad boys. The most egregious offenders would be the folks who ask for a high-level referral five minutes after meeting someone.

Passing in a No Passing Zone. Handing out your card when the other person didn’t specifically ask for it is another of those minor offenses that the networking police are watching for. They also look for anyone trying to hand out multiple copies of their card to the same person.

Not coming to a complete stop. The social butterflies (or social climbers) who are always looking for someone better to talk to (or be seen talking to) collect the largest number of these citations. Part of the networking officers training is to watch for the tell-tale “looking over the other person’s shoulder” which usually indicates an infraction in progress.

Networking while trying to influence. NWI’s are the nice way of saying that instead of networking and trying to establish new long-term relationships, the perpetrator in question was trying to sell. This is definitely one of the more serious violations. Getting only one or two of these can result in your right to network being revoked for an extended period.

Illegal “You” turn. The networker who earns this ticket has a problem. They only want to talk about themselves. Whenever the conversation drifts to the other person, they try to turn the “you” back into “me”. Violators of this particular statute soon discover that they are alone on the road  since no one can hang around for long with the conversational whiplash their networking can cause.

Fortunately or unfortunately, we don’t have any networking enforcement officers showing up at the various events around town. I guess that means that we are going to have to police ourselves.

And, no, that doesn’t mean you get to taser the next person who cuts in line at the buffet table. Don’t worry, they’re already setting their own punishment.

Photo credit: elvis santana