Ok, the dilemma has arrived. Now that it has, I realize that I was hoping the decision would be made for me by default. But it wasn't meant to be. Help!!
A position that I had applied for in another lab has become available. My current position is listed is technically as an hourly-wage position, even though I get paid for 40 hours a week no matter how much time I put in. It doesn't have health benefits though and that is a wee bit of a problem. The pay isn't fabulous, but it's average.
The position that has become available would be a regular post-doc position with health benefits. So even if the base pay is the same I get now, it would in real terms be better-paying. It involves research on a topic I worked on a few years ago, so presumably the learning curve is minimal. My current job is (at least on paper) not quite in line with the work I did for my PhD, but that hasn't stopped me from producing good-quality work. For immigration purposes it might be a good idea to take on the new position, because that one is more in line of what I studied for. It'll be easier to make the argument that I'm this indispensable scientist int he field.
The big thing is I absolutely *love* my current job. The lab I work in is large compared to the lab where I'm offered a job now. I don't think I can stress enough how incredibly happy I am here. It is so much fun to be in a large lab, with lots of great people, a fantastic PI. I get up in the morning eager to rush into the lab to get to hang out with cool people, and do cool research. I've had to learn some new things in the past 3 months, and I think I've gotten quite good at it. My boss told me the other day he has another small project using the same principles in another crop that he got funding for. I could polish that off in no time.
This is really hard. I'll be putting up a pros and cons list in the next day or so, and everyone can help me decide. I had sort of hoped that the other position would wither away, maybe not be available anymore, or whatever. At the same time it would be a good opportunity to get back into the work that I did in the past. I would actually be very good at it. Would that be satisfying in and of itself? You help me decide!
I agree with Mano and Nina
1 hour ago