Do I want a job at really big U?
So a little update. Things are going well, really well. I just had a fairly high impact publication and just submitted three papers to awesome journal, really cool journal, and meh its a journal. I have tons of funding and am going up for early tenure. (Yeah its okay to hate on me, I use to hate on people like this too, but read back some pasts last year and you'll see it hasn't always been this way). Suddenly, there are a number of people asking if I am interested in moving, planning to move, or unhappy at midwestern R1U. Even my husband is talking about whether or not I should "step-up".
To be clear, I am not looking for a job. I do not have any offers, former or informal, and have not even had hints of a job. I *love* midwestern R1U. It has nearly everything I need for my career to be successful. I have smart and eager collaborators, supportive colleagues (in every sense of that word), talented students, and an incredibly supportive chair. I really haven't considered leaving to this point, but, a small but persistent but, it is true that I would have more opportunities at really big U.
The students there are more likely to be on fellowship (= free) to me. They are also probably smarter, although this does not translate directly into laboratory success. I would probably have more space and easier access to funding. Downsides, I would still be near the bottom of the totem pole so teaching and service duties may not be what I would like. I also know that really big U's tend to be super-competitive and if I went there as anything less than a full professor, there could be difficulties with promotion and tenure. Often they will hire people as an Associate professor without tenure and make you apply again in a year or two after arrival. All in all, I probably wouldn't want to go to a Really Big U until I am a full professor. However, if that is a goal, not now but ever, I will need to do certain things to make that a career possibility. So, this is something that I am thinking about. What do I really want from this job?