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My own case was one of (2), for spousal reasons, though I would've been happy with (4) as well. The advice I was given about why to try to move before tenure: most jobs are for tenure track (pre-tenure) positions. There are relatively fewer tenured positions advertised. I don't know if that's still true (I haven't checked the last couple of years), but if it is, that is a big reason to try to move pre-tenure. Maybe this varies by subspecialty, I dunno.


The conventional wisdom, at least, is that lateral moves are much easier before tenure (not least because before tenure, you can apply to the TT jobs, rather than relying primarily on having "feelers" out).


I think it is probably easier to move from a teaching position to a research one before tenure because (i) there are just more entry level jobs posted, and (ii) very few people look like they are better or more promising researchers 7-10 years out, especially after working at a teaching school where teaching demands are heavy, and resources for research are scant. One way people post-tenure move is by acquiring administrative experience. Not as a chair, but as an associate dean or such. But then one has to stay in that sort of role. But this is an effective strategy for couples on the market trying to get jobs at the same institution. I have also seen a number of people, not only philosophers, move from research places to teaching colleges around tenure. This is sometimes due to the fact that they lose their bid for tenure at the Research school. Teaching places are often quite delighted to pick up such people. To relate this discussion to other ones on this blog, EVERYONE should be living their career as if this were their life (it is, after all), and expect that they will not be able to move. So make your job a nice place to work and embrace the community you are in.

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