This week I have been looking at our finances and trying to figure out whether to roll the dice on hiring a postdoc on the funds the lab currently has in the bank. With what's left after all of our equipment purchases, summer salary for grad students and general supplies, we have enough to offer a 1 year postdoc position and still keep generating data. But, things could get a little uncomfortable next summer if we don't have federal funding by then - especially if we decide to move forward with some big projects.
I also had a meeting with the Dean this week on a completely unrelated matter, but during the meeting the Dean basically asked if there was anything I needed. I talked about my efforts to hire a postdoc and the Dean told me to look things over and let them know if I needed anything.
I didn't want to look like I'm asking for handouts, so I decide on asking for a conditional pledge. I requested about 1/3 of the postdoc's salary in the event that we do not have federal funding to cover the salary by the end of next summer. This way it was clear to the Dean that I am doing what I can to not use their money, but wouldn't mind a safety net on the off chance that we can't come up with grant money.
It seemed to me a reasonable request that is in everyone's best interest and I got confirmation today that the Dean has said yes to my proposal, so I have sent off my offer and will wait to hear what PC says. I hope that things work out, but I'll also understand if PC choses to go with their other offer, which provides more than a year of guaranteed salary. It's also nice to know that the Dean is willing to step up and help junior investigators who need a little something here or there.