I currently work at a R1 on soft money for half of my job (conducting research) and on hard money for the other half (doing alt-ac work). I just was offered a tenure track position at a local SLAC teaching a 1-1 load (80 students per class) and then working on research (1 publication per year expectation).
I have a family and currently have a lot of flexibility in my jobs but one of them could end in the next year or two (it may not end, if my research productivity increases). I am not sure if I would want to stay since, if I ever did get a tenure track job at the R1, I know that the stakes are very high and I worry that I may loose the work-life balance and great flexibility I have now (it is similar to a post doc role which is why it is so flexible).
I have greatly considered taking the SLAC position until I read all over the internet how many house people work and it seems that NOWHERE is anyone getting work life balance - they are working 45+ hours. I don't mind putting in hard work, especially when I love my job and I can have the flexibility to work from home, etc. But, now I feel that I am scared to take this great tenure track job opportunity with much more money, and a nice working environment (nice people, I know because I worked there for a bit of time).
So, I guess I feel confused. On one hand I hear about many posts where people say they are at a SLAC for the work life balance and are able to have more family time, but then on the other hand, everyone still seems to be reporting a tone of hours, which makes me wonder - is there really more balance?
Do I choose to make the leap and take the tenure track job, or do I stay at the R1 where I have a ton of flexibility now (I can get my kids off the bus, stay home and work sometimes, etc.) with the idea that it may end in a couple years after when one of two things happen 1) this post-doc period is over OR 2) I get offered tenure track at the R1 and then things really kick into gear.
I have no idea how to compare these two. My career has been important to me for many years and still is, but my family and my kids, while they are growing, are most important, so I just want to be sure that I can find a place to land and feel fulfilled, but also have the time I need to commit to my family.
Any experiences that people have on SLAC vs. R1 and suggestions on what I should do would be greatly appreciated.