For a job position:
1. Adjunct professor at MIT
2. Associate professor at a 4th tier university
I believe this cannot be answered accurately without knowing more about personal circumstances. There are going to be many many many factors that would enter into such a decision. Some of them will not be at all related to academia.
It depends greatly on (1) your present circumstances, and (2) your life goals. Only you can know all of these factors. There is value in both choices, so it simply depends upon what you want to accomplish.
Adjunct is a dead end, no matter where it is.
For anyone trying to build a career, either starting out or middle level, I would certainly agree with this statement. That said, I have recently been considering an adjunct position myself after being retired for many years. I have no wish to pursue another tenured position, and I'd just like to teach for a few more years before the grim reaper calls. In my case, I think an adjunct position might work.
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