I am gearing up for my second year as a TT assistant prof at a SLAC. Out of innocent curiosity, I perused the job ads and saw one for an ideal position at a dream school. I am tempted to apply even though I had no plans to go on the market this year. I don't know if I am suffering from the "grass is greener" syndrome.
However, I am concerned about burning bridges at my current institution if I even apply for the job. I've seen other colleagues go through similar situations (with very good reasons for looking elsewhere) and now they get the cold shoulder from colleagues and higher up admins.
Any thoughts on whether I should apply? And, if so, how to go about it in a way that minimizes collateral damage at my current institution? (e.g., do I keep it a secret or share with trusted colleagues)
Here is some context about my current institution and the dream school:
I am pretty happy at my current institution. The job is a good fit. I have fantastic colleagues. The students are excellent. My main complaint is the remote location. I am far from family and friends, feel deprived of cultural activities, and don't really fit with the culture here. I also wish there was more time for research (i.e., lighter teaching load and better resources). Both my partner and I have been fighting discontent with the location since we moved here.
In contrast, the other school is in a culturally-rich town with many friends and family members nearby. Plus, the school itself (the mission, the interdisciplinary classes) sounds like an excellent fit (at least on paper). The teaching load is lighter and they seem to have better resources for research with undergraduates.