Tenure/Snake Dilemma: [...] A particular person, who is professor of a non-biological science, is extremely phobic about snakes. [...] This same person is very fond of cats. This snake-o-phobe, felinophile has a senior colleague who is also a neighbor. That is, these two people work in the same department at the same university and also live near each other. They occasionally trade cat-care when one of them is away. The snake-o-phobe adores the colleague's cat and is happy to take care of this very affectionate and charismatic beast. [...] Imagine that at a particular time in the summer, the colleague planned to go away on vacation and needed some cat care. The felinophile agreed to take care of the cat. [...] Then, almost as an aside, the colleague sends an e-mail that says: 'Oh by the way, we also now have a snake. You will need to change his/her water and you may also need to go to the pet store and get a freshly killed mouse to feed the snake.' [...] Question for discussion [...] Do you take care of the snake despite your horror of it? Does your agreeing vs. declining to take care of the snake have anything to do with your tenure status and your wish to be agreeable to your senior colleague?
Read the whole post, which is hilarious and also has some good comments, in particular:
From here on out, every inappropriate or crazy thing that assistant professors get asked to do simply because they are assistant professors should be known as "feeding the snake."