This is what the postdoc offer letter said:
As we discussed in [conference], we are thrilled to offer you a postdoctoral position at the [.]Center starting this summer. I do hope you will consider this offer, as we would be thrilled to have you
The start date would be July 1 but is flexible
Salaries would be based on the [..] postdoctoral fellow scale, as this is a [..] funded position
Please fill out the official application at the website below
I think that we already have most of this information, however we would need an official transript before you could officially start.
Please let me know if you have any specific questions. I am copying [..] on this, who coordinates the academic and training activities in the Department
I was 90% sure that I was going to accept, though. You can't say no to them. Before I accepted, I wanted to clarify a few details and attempt to bargain for moving expenses. In my 10 minute conversation, he had said funding was available for a few conferences. One of my questions was how long the postdoc was for, whether it was the usual 2 years extendable to 3, as virtually all the others I've applied to. Alas:
The post doc is for a year. based on our training grant. We havent had a 2-year post doc, as everyone has gotten funded in the second year either through [US federal funding agencies] grants. We work closely with folks in terms of writing grants etc.
Unfortunately, we dont have relocation funds available
I reviewed my (sparse) correspondence, and there had been no mention of this before. The offer letter didn't have this. Our 45 minute breakfast meeting probably didn't say anything about it, as I would have remembered it more clearly. Our 10 minute conversation did not mention it: all he said was that they would work with me to apply for faculty funding. He never said that applying for the funding was the only way that I could get funding for the following year.
A 1 year postdoc means going on the market again, right away, just in case, and all the facts of temporary life. Hopefully I would be just as lucky as the others, but even so, the fact that this fact emerged only after my questioning is a terrible sign: what other surprises are there?
I've bought myself some time with the decision by asking to speak with him again.