Watch your back: listen to vague doubts
Date: October 20, 2006 01:03AM
It seems I was being targeted by a Landmark creep, and I am starting a new thread to add my two cents. The info on this and other sites helped me a lot and my info may be able to help others. I am not going to post many details, because I don't want the person who is targeting me to realize I have figured out what is going on and end up having to waste a lot of time fighting this person off.
It's sad, but I get the impression that we really need to watch our backs these days. (Please, don't let that rule your life, though. There are still plenty of normal, nice folks out there.)
Landmark people and people from spinoffs and similar organizations seem to try all sorts of approaches to drag you into their stuff. Business meetings, social events, what not. (I once ended up at a meeting of another creepy group after I responded to a job ad...)
If you are invited to something the people who invite you are vague about or you really don't know any facts about, make sure you do not depend on those people for, say, your transport. Let other friends/relatives know that you are going there. Insist on being given an address and refuse to go somewhere else (or make a phone call about it) if they tell you, upon arrival, that they are meeting somewhere else after all.
This may sound a bit too "dramatic" and it probably is, but I think it's better to err on the cautious side (as there are even worse things than Landmark out there), particularly if you are in a vulnerable position (say, doing a Ph.D. in another country and not having much local backup).
If you are being asked to participate in anything you have vague doubts about, listen to those doubts, no matter how badly you need income or new friends or whatever it is that they are trying to hook you with. (Oh, yeah, they do find your buttons and they do push them.)
That approach - listening to your instincts - works well for many things in life. Usually you are picking up on facts you simply had not really realized yet, such as that you don't have any last names (or other data) of people involved in something and that you are operating purely on someone's say-so or that it is odd that they seem to be willing to hire people with no experience at all for a prestigious and important project. It may mean that professionals are staying away from a project for reasons they know (such as lack of funding) and you don't.
It can also mean that there IS no project - or nice ordinary social event - and that someone is trying to suck you into a cult-like organization.
I think that if people need to hide who they are and what they are doing, they must have good - or rather, bad - reasons for it...
It makes me sad to have been purely targeted for something like Landmark, while I thought I was developing a good personal and professional contact, but I am really glad that I found out in time (through a lucky coincidence that made me run into a big red flag).