So I'm applying for fellowships of various sorts for the first time since grad school--which means that, also for the first time, I'm confronted by the need to start finding recommenders from places other than grad school. Many of these fellowships only require two recommenders, and for those I'm set: Advisor is writing one and a good professional acquaintance (a well-known mid-career academic whose work I very much admire) has agreed to write the second.
However, at least one of these fellowships requires three recs, and I'm uncertain where to turn for that third one. My department chair would do it, and she's an excellent letter writer, but she's not in my field and I'm not sure that a letter from her would be remotely useful or appropriate. I could call upon another professor at INRU whom I've known since I was an undergrad and who's read pretty much everything I've ever written--but (a) s/he has gone above and beyond in writing me recommendations for everything imaginable for more than a decade now, and (b) I really want to get away from grad school recommenders, both because I think it will look better for my applications and because I'm genuinely interested in forging new relationships with mentor-type people.
Now, I have another possible third recommender, but I'm worried that we don't know each other well enough and that it might be presumptuous of me even to ask. We met less than a year ago, but we've had some fun interactions over meals at conferences; s/he read one of my articles and then engaged me in very complimentary conversation about it; s/he offered to read something else of mine--an offer that for various reasons I couldn't/didn't pursue. And oh yeah: this person is also kinda famous.
So I'm not sure. I guess it doesn't hurt to ask, but I have deep anxieties when it comes to making other people uncomfortable or putting them under any sense of obligation--and I worry that we might know each other well enough that Possible Recommender wouldn't feel able to say no. . . but would secretly resent the presumption.
Anyone have any pertinent advice, here?