Yes, it is official. I have turned down the only tenure-track offer I had on the table. Yes, it might come as a surprise to many and deep in my heart I am not happy either. But the decision was based on rational thought and nothing to do with my heart ( sort of ).
I see that there are only four possibilities when an offer is made:
1) Bad Place, Bad Offer
2) Bad Place, Good Offer
3) Good Place, Bad Offer
4) Good Place, Good Offer
Certainly good place and bad place are very subjective terms; depending on your personal preferences ( e.g. the kind of people you would like to work with etc.), research interests, and teaching loads etc.
Good offer and bad offer depends mostly on the compensations, startups, and benefits.
For me, the offer made belonged to the first category. It was a bad place for me because I couldn't see my research thriving there, the teaching load was way more than I expect for me to be a productive researcher, and the institutional research profile was mediocre at best. The offer was mediocre at best ( mediocre compensation, almost no startup, and shared research space).
Although it was clear to me that the offer on the table belonged to the first category, I still consulted all of my mentors for deblirations. All of them offered the same advice that I had in mind. So I think I made an informed decision to turn down the offer.
The other interviews that I went to ( 4 in total) didn't put an offer on the table. I am hoping that future will tell that I made the right decision !