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08/03/2022

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Michel

Everything I've heard (from other disciplines as well as our own) suggests that it's easier to move from like to like--so a move from a non-prestigious research job to a more prestigious research job is easier than one from a teaching to a research job (with some exceptions for very fancy SLACs). Partly, this is a matter of relative prestige and trajectory. Partly, it's just because even the non-prestigious research jobs often come with less teaching and more research support (including honours, MA, or PhD students, all of which will really help boost your own research capabilities) than teaching positions.

On the other hand, I get the sense that there's still a real prestige bump for being employed full-time and more or less permanently at a very prestigious institution, even in a teaching capacity. What you may well lose out on, however, is the time and research support you'd ideally need to be competitive for a research job.

Assuming both options are permanent jobs, my advice would be to take the job you'd be happiest being stuck in long-term/forever (in terms of location, salary, load, support, proximity to family, etc.). Lateral moves are hard, and moving up the relative prestige hierarchy is harder. The odds are stacked against you, even if you do everything right, and the advantages to be gained from strategizing are pretty minuscule. So cover your bases. Make sure that you're happy enough, and then do what you can to secure a better outcome for yourself down the line.

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