I'd like to ask for some insights and advice. Long story short: Do I keep applying for VAPs or stay another year? I have money in the bank.
Here's my situation:
Background: I am finishing my 7th year of PhD and will defend this summer. Have four first-authored peer-reviewed pubs, in journals ranging from mid- (PSPB-ish) to lower-tier. Taught about 6 courses independently, most of these seminar-style, < 15 students.
Career goal: A TT position at a small or large institution with something like a 2-2 or 3-3 load, research support and research-engaged students, and perhaps masters students for the sake of teaching a few grad courses, research productivity and possible TA support. I love teaching, do not want tenure to depend on getting grants.
Current situation: I've received a number of phone/Skype and one on-campus interview but no offers, and was unsuccessful in all of my postdoc position or grant applications. I'm currently applying to VAPs, and more positions are popping up. Something might still pop up, but I'm trying to be realistic.
However, I have the opportunity to stay another year at my current (R1) institution and teach 1-2: a seminar area, research methods, and a large class in my area. An important angle to this is that I have savings from a previous career that I can easily live on for a year, and have no pressures regarding family or kids. In terms of publishing in the short-term, I have one MS a few months from completion suitable for a mid-low journal, and one of my diss studies will be suitable for a mid-high journal, not yet begun writing up results. I have great datasets immediately relevant to my area that I helped collect at my disposal, and can quickly get a few studies running with engaged research assistants who need minimal supervision. Great relationship with supportive advisor who is an excellent co-author and makes no demands of me other that I publish.
So, do I stay or keep pursuing the VAP positions and/or less-ideal TT positions, considering my career goal? One the one hand, some people say that VAPs at institutions like one wants a TT position at would make one more competitive. On the other hand, it seems that publication record trumps everything, especially if one has solid teaching experience, and at the end of next year (if I stay) I will have had both seminar and larger classes under my belt, including service courses.
Though I'm SO ready for a change of scenery and department, my living situation (with GF) is good, I find upheaval/moving very draining, and I'm so lucky to no have financial constraints.
Does anyone have any insights or advice? Questions I should be asking myself? I'm happy to clarify any aspect of this. Many thanks for anything you can offer. This forum has been a huge help over this year, and I really appreciate that people take the time to offer help.