A reader writes:
I have a job market question which is also about asking for help, and I don't quite remember if you've addressed this on the Cocoon (when talking about these issues more generally).
Basically, the question is about trying to get letters of recommendation from philosophers who one has met via conferences, say, rather than via one's home institution. For instance, suppose I meet a well-regarded philosopher after his or her talk, go to the post-talk dinner/drinks, have nice philosophical conversations, etc. Is it ok to later email this person with the hopes of getting a letter (after sending along work/writing samples)? Or is this rude/over the line? I feel like it would behoove me to get letters from well-placed folks, but I really don't want to overstep any boundaries/be presumptuous, etc. Are there rules about this sort of thing? How well should one know a person before asking for a letter? (FWIW, this feels more awkward than trying to figure out rules of dating/how soon is too soon to call, etc.....)
My thoughts are these: there's absolutely nothing wrong with emailing someone after the conference saying it was great talking with them, and asking them if they might mind taking a look at a piece of your work. My experience is that if the person works really enjoyed talking with you, they'll often reciprocate. Then, if they read some of your work, if they like it, and you have a good rapport, it can be appropriate to ask them for a letter.