I have been applying to postdoc positions, but I'm concerned about my advisor's recommendation letter.
I have been a productive researcher under his supervision and had a good, but stressful PhD experience and I believe I have been one of my advisors better students. He certainly seems quite pleased with my work.
I have a job offer that my advisor would strongly prefer I take, it involves working in a group indirectly controlled by him.
For personal geographical reasons (not related to my advisor or anyone I work with) I would prefer to work elsewhere.
What troubles me is that I'm not certain my advisor will write me a recommendation letter that accurately reflects my abilities as a researcher in order to force me to accept the position more closely associated with him. He's certainly been pushing me to accept this position by refusing to expend any effort to find more funding for me until I finish my PhD. I'm graduating next month and I've been without fellowship for the past few months). The people in charge of this postdoc position are happy to start paying me as soon as I agree to work with them.
I realize this sounds somewhat paranoid, however my advisor has done something similar to one of his previous students in very similar position. This student had been extended a tentative offer for a position at very prestigious institution, which was then revoked when our advisor sent a private email to this students prospective employer implying that the student had already agreed to work with him after his graduation. This student only found out why the deal fell through later when he met personally with some people working with the prospective employer and they were sorry that he wasn't available to work with them at that time.
I don't doubt this. My advisor is certainly the kind of person who would conspire in this way. He's sort of roguishly brilliant and I'm sure he justified it to himself by thinking it was in this student's best interest. He's one of the big names in our field as well.
What do I do? I understand that omitting my advisor from the letter writers can raise some eyebrows. Is there anyway to inform prospective employers of this situation without sounding insane?