Dear Annie: A year ago, I signed up to do a shadowing certification course at a day care facility. Shadowing involves working as an assistant to a child with low- or high-functioning autism. “John,” the instructor of the course, led me to believe that there would be a job placement at the end of the training. However, after several months of following up with him, I was still unable to find a job as a shadow, despite the fact that I had spent hundreds of dollars and many hours of time to finish the training.
Whenever I’ve tried to contact him about finding me a job, he has always made an excuse of having a personal family tragedy, and when I contacted him two months ago, he told me that he had been diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, that he had lost his condominium and that his laptop had fallen in a lake. I would be inclined to believe John, but he exhibits many symptoms of a pathological liar.
He told me he would refund me the money I spent on the training, yet every time I contact him, he uses his diagnosis as an excuse for not helping me, even though he said he wouldn’t do that.
I would pursue legal action against John if I had the money, but I just want a straight answer out of him for why he scammed me like this. I’ve sent him text messages, which he has not answered.
I have not phoned him, because I don’t want to talk to him on the phone. I did not do this training for fun; I did it to find work, and I could not find this job myself without connections. I do not know whether John really has cancer or not, but I feel scammed and would like to know what I could do about it.
— Feeling Scammed in Montreal
Dear Scammed: It sounds as if the only course John should be teaching is improv acting. I hate to say it, but I think he’s a dead-end in your job search.
Nevertheless, was the certification you received legitimate? If so, I wouldn’t consider it a waste of money. That training could still land you a job. If the day care facility where you shadowed is still operational, why not go directly to management? You can also look elsewhere for positions that would allow you to work with children with autism. Just present your experience in the best possible light when applying; no need to mention scammers or laptops in lakes. Good luck.
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