A discussion has been going on in my lab very intensely the last week or so that I thought might get some interest here (also it's just us talking, so we're curious as to what others think). One of my colleagues (a first year post-doc) recently got a job offer at a good but not great R1 school. She has funding for a few more years for her postdoc, so she doesn't "need" a job in the sense that if she doesn't get/take one she won't have an income starting in September. However, it's not really a school that is an ideal fit for a variety of reasons (research, spousal career opportunities, location, etc). Here's the question: If she takes the job this year, but then next fall some positions become available that she'd definitely prefer, how bad would it look for her to potentially apply to those jobs during her first semester at the new school?
I realize that that could look pretty bad, but is it really going to ruin one's reputation in the field or just frustrate a small handful of people in one department? Would they even be THAT frustrated? Don't people in this day and age and market understand? Also, why are there these rules in academia — another one being that you should withdraw your candidacy from other schools as soon as you accept a job offer — that do not apply at all in the private sector?
What do people think? Isn't it worth being happy in the long-run and going for the job you really want even if you annoy a handful of people? Am I way off? Is this a MUCH bigger taboo than I realize¿