A person worked remotely and had never met their co-workers, so they were excited when they were given the opportunity to attend an in-person team get-together. However, controversy was brewing in the air, and little did the person know that they would be the cause of it.
Meeting Their Co-workers
Due to being hired during the pandemic, the person was excited to attend their first face-to-face event. The event was a success: “It was really fun and we all went to a bar after work”, they recounted happily.
Getting to know each other at the bar, the group of co-workers discovered that they were a diverse mix. Most colleagues hailed from the scorching heat of Texas, but the person was from the cooler climate of British Columbia, Canada.
The person was quick to notice the stark contrast in climate. The 35°C weather in Denver felt oppressively hot to the person, and they couldn’t help but voice their discomfort.
Banter About the Heat
The person engaged in some light-hearted banter about the weather with a Texan colleague. “I complained it was way too hot”, the person explained. “My co-worker agreed but said it was way hotter in Texas”, so I said I was happy the team get-together wasn’t in Texas because I would melt”. Their Texan co-worker laughed along and inquired about the weather in British Columbia.
Casual Mention of Climate Change
The person casually mentioned that British Columbia had been experiencing hotter weather lately, attributing it to climate change. They shared that temperatures had reached almost 50°C in the interior of BC last year, an anomaly for the region.
An Unexpected Response
To their surprise, the Texan co-worker fell silent, and the expressions of other colleagues shifted uncomfortably. Confused by their reactions, the person asked what was wrong. The Texan co-worker eventually spoke up, denying the reality of climate change and suggesting that something else must be causing Canada’s rising temperatures.
The revelation led to an uncomfortable atmosphere for the remainder of the get-together. Despite their best efforts to steer clear of controversy, the person had unintentionally stumbled onto a politically sensitive topic.
The repercussions of their climate change comment became apparent later on. The person was informed by HR that they would have to complete “religious and political sensitivity training.” When they inquired about the reason for this, they were shocked to hear that their mention of climate change during the team meet-up had been deemed a “politically sensitive topic.”
A Cross-Cultural Dilemma
The person found themselves in a perplexing situation. They did not believe that climate change was a point of controversy due to its evidence, and either way, they still felt they had the right to discuss it. Regardless, they worried whether they should be less vocal about such topics in the future to avoid potentially damaging their career.
Expressing Themselves Online
The person took their story to the internet, posting it on an online forum. All the readers were perplexed by the bizarre turn of events and climate change’s apparent controversy. “What the heck is wrong with your HR department?!”, questioned one reader. “Weather is a go-to for “safe” conversation. You can’t help it if your co-workers are offended by reality. Sheesh!”
“How are you supposed to know what indisputable scientific facts people chose not to believe in?”, laughed another commenter. “What’s next? They get upset because you tell them you tripped because you didn’t know they chose not to believe in gravity?”, they continued.
Everything’s Bigger in Texas
Some commenters made jokes that specifically correlated the person’s experiences to the enormous state of Texas. “Everything’s bigger in Texas, including the climate change denialism”, one commenter wrote. “You had no way of knowing they’d be so regressive about it, and even if you did it’s not your fault.”
Whilst most comments were written in good humor, some people suggested the person took serious action. “If you can ask someone to clarify why you’re in trouble but not the person who made a point of denying reality, I would do that”, one person suggested. “Also… you might want to find a different job. These people are weird.”
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