I know in academia it is common to do pre-tenure laterals. Sometimes people test the market even if they are reasonably happy in their current post, maybe to find something better, or maybe to get a raise through a competing offer.
The thing is, I have heard of this competing-offer-to-get-a-raise strategy only at research institutions. My question is whether it would work as well (or at all) at a LAC. Also, does it only work with top schools, or would a second tier school be up for this kind of thing?
I am currently in a position at a LAC that I enjoy and would be happy to be in forever (I think). However, it is not the absolute best location for my family (though they manage). Moreover, I think there are a number of schools where I could be even happier. Also, my salary is not great, but I know that each year it seems to be the case that new assistant professors are offered higher and higher salaries at a rate faster than our raises. For example, my graduate advisor's current R1 salary (6 years in) isn't much more than mine, even though I'm at a lower-paying school (overall) and I'm a first year. So I can see how it's probably not that hard to come up with a competing offer.
I am in my first year and I'm thinking about applying to a few places next year depending on what the market looks like in my area. I'm just wondering how this is looked upon at a LAC. (FWIW, I think most people at my LAC come in and stay here, as is the case at most LACs). If I get another offer that I would consider (but not necessarily prefer to take), should I try to get my current school to match it or win me over in some way (e.g. startup fund increase)? Or will they just say, "fine…if you are so eager to go, then just go?" Also, is it risky to even go on the market in the first place, i.e. if someone finds out? I do like my current LAC and don't want to jeopardize getting tenure here. I think they'd be surprised to find out I would consider leaving. But at the same time, it might be better for the whole family if I explore other options.