I've got a very good VAP in a good city. I get to teach a variety of courses, largely of my own choosing. I have lots of good students. And I could likely extend the VAP for several more years if I keep up the good work, etc. . . . (Others will likely find themselves in such a situation. I figure that there will be many more semi-permanent or long term VAPs in the coming years. . . .)On the one hand, you might end up with a TT job in a place you hate. On the other hand, you might not end up with a TT job at all. I guess, without really knowing the details, I'd take the TT job in the unappealing location. You might end up liking it, and you can always go back on the market when you're up for tenure or something. (by the way, are there any statistics on going on the market when you're up for tenure?)
The thing is that there are several TT jobs in places where I'm not sure I could live. The trade off--job security for terrible city--doesn't seem worth it. In fact, a job for life in some of these places sounds like a life sentence in an ultra-minimal security prison.
I'm trying to figure out what risks one runs in staying in a VAP and not taking a TT job. (Put aside the fact that I likely won't face this choice this year.) If VAPing was like any other kind of job, one where you don't get laid off every year, then I don't think it would be so bad given the alternatives. . . .