It is probably a very "soft" question, but let me try.

It is customary to believe, that after a certain period of postdoctoral research a person should either establish him/her-self as a (permanent or tenure track) Faculty member, or leave academia for good, seeking employment elsewhere. The maximum "postdoc period" is of course not specified, and very country-- and area--dependent, but arguably it is around 8 years — for example, many fellowship programs invite applications from candidates with no more than 7-8 years of postdoc experience.

Consider a person with almost that many years of postdoc experience given a choice: either to pursue another postdoc position in a strong internationally recognized University (say, top-20 THE rating), or go for an independent Faculty position in a less recognized place (say, top-200 THE rating).

If you think that the choice here is obvious, I would very much like to hear your pro / contra arguments. The area is computational mathematics.

  • 1
    I don't think it's a bad question, but we had pretty much exactly the same discussion already.
    – xLeitix
    Jul 1, 2014 at 14:43
  • The right thing to do is definitely going to be person-dependent. Imagine that the top 200 position is in an area you would love to live in and you have a significant other who would get a great job there too. Depending on how you valued this sort of thing, the choice might be obvious.
    – gammapoint
    Jul 1, 2014 at 14:50
  • @gammapoint The things you mentioned are of great importance indeed, but let us assume that they are equally good or bad for all options. Jul 1, 2014 at 14:53
  • Yesterday, I saw crawfish in a store. Big ones. For $ 5 a piece. Very big. And today, I saw small crawfish. $ 3 a piece. Really small. But for 3. But today. ... The yesterday ones were really big. Extremely. But for 5. And today ...- small ones. Almost nothing. But, only for 3.... Now, what is better - yesterday, but for 5, or today, but for 3? ... The ones yesterday were really big. If I only had $ 5 yesterday... Not that I have $ 3 today...
    – ExAll
    Jan 17, 2018 at 0:27