I hope this topic is appropriate for MO. I have a tenure-track position at a US university in a location where my spouse is very unhappy, severely underemployed, and has no real prospect of finding suitable employment. I know the economy/job market is bad now and that I will likely have to stay put for a few years. But, hopefully in the near future, things will improve and I would like to test the job market.
Question One: How should I go about obtaining a teaching letter? I work in a small department and I do not think any other faculty member would willingly help me "test the market." (Things could be especially awkward if I cannot find another suitable position and decide to stay in my current position with everyone knowing I tried to leave.)
Question Two: Is it better to apply for other jobs right before or after I get tenure at my current university? (Can having tenure be detrimental in the application process?)
Thanks in advance for any advice ...