I have a brilliant marvelous wonderful postdoc (oh hai. I know you're reading this). This postdoc has life balancing /personal issues that are entirely appropriate. Issues that got me thinking. The best thing for the is PD is to get A Real Job. I am working on that. Meantime, I am going to try and get this postdoc an appointment as a "research asst prof" of which there are several in my department at almost-MRU. This title means independent (largely), means PI status for writing their own grants. It does not mean their own lab, unless they score R-level NIH or equivalent funding. It might, given funding, mean a small amount of department support for research, < $50K.
I have all sorts of various feelings about this. On one hand, it can be a Good Thing. If young person can't move, for whatever reasons, then this is a way to be more than the pawn/gofer for a "real" faculty. If jobs are scarce, its one way to stay in the business. Needless to say, this implies the right mentor, with the right attitudes.
But, I see a lot, even in my marvelous new department, where its a ploy to tie someone tighter to the faculty mentor. There aren't really any BSD's here, in part because its not a BSD-kinda place, but also because the department has hired carefully over the years (there are more R01s here, in the hands of Gen-Xers, thank you very much, than at my old MRU department). At almost-MRU its hard to attract trainees as we are not a BSD-MRU. So there is motivation for keeping someone good.
But my postdoc, as is true for others here, would undoubtedly be better served by getting their own position. I have said so to the postdoc. We have talked about it. We will keep talking (as is our habit, oh hai, I know you're still reading).
It is a sign of maturity to let go of people when it is best for them. It is a sign of maturity to know when it is best for them. When I bring this up to colleagues, I hear a lot of hmming, and hawing, and toing and froing. Fuck that. Figure out what's best for your people. You have to get up with you in the morning.