I work in cybersecurity and have been at my employer for about 9 years. I am in the USA, in a "blue" Democratic leaning state.

Today several new team members joined other teams within the larger cybersecurity division, and had a team building event where members introduce themselves.

One topic everyone else disclosed was their hobbies. One of my hobbies I disclosed is competitive practical shooting, which obviously involves owning a firearm. I own a single firearm and am a responsible owner, following all laws.

Political attitudes towards firearms and the 2A tends to be a sensitive topic in the United States. I noted no other employee disclosed a hobby that could be deemed controversial or sensitive.

Addenum I did not say this, but the single firearm I own is a remington 870 shotgun, semiauto 20 gauge. This is a popular gun owned by civilians for recreational shooting, well within the Heller standards per US courts. Again, nothing extreme either in type of gun or number of guns. Practical shooting and multi gun are fully sanctioned by IPSC , the sports global governing body, and for which I am active in. Nothing here says rogue or anything.

As I dont know the new colleagues well, was this too much disclosure and hence a mistake? I dont want to make others uncomfortable

  • 1
    Have you encountered any problems at work because of this we can address, or is this hypothetical? We have no idea how your coworkers reacted. I'm not a particular fan of guns myself, but would not care if a coworker were into shooting.
    – Seth R
    Jan 5, 2022 at 21:08
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    I don't see how this hobby would be considered controversial by reasonable people. The 2A protects your right to keep and bear arms. I'm not a gun owner, never will be, but I have no issue with those who choose otherwise. If they're uncomfortable with your gun ownership then that's their issue, not yours. Would I be worried about disclosing such info? No.
    – joeqwerty
    Jan 5, 2022 at 21:15
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    What kind of discomfort do you anticipate? I've been in many workplaces where gun ownership by some individuals was well known and occasionally discussed. I've never known anyone to be uncomfortable with it.
    – joeqwerty
    Jan 5, 2022 at 21:18
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    Also, don't assume a sample population in a blue US state is all liberal, or that all liberals are anti-gun in some way. Jan 5, 2022 at 21:51
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    I'm not seeing an addressable goal or question we can answer here. We can only speculate on whether anyone actually cared about OP's hobby or what it would matter if they did. It's not clear there's an actual problem. VTC
    – Seth R
    Jan 5, 2022 at 22:39

3 Answers 3


That can backfire spectacularly.

I remember the time my new boss was asked to introduce himself to the leadership team and, fortunately for him, briefly showed me his slides for that talk, where he had included range shooting as his new hobby.

What he didn't know is that, a few years before he joined, there had been a shooting at the office, where an employee shot his supervisor and then himself. Many of the people he would have introduced himself to had lived through that event.

It should go without saying that triggering traumatic memories is among the worst ways one could possibly introduce yourself with.

Fortunately for my boss, I spotted this as he flipped though his slides.

Yes, I realize most people are lucky enough to never have been touched by gun violence. To you, it's just a fun hobby. But for others, your hobby may call forth their darkest hour. And if you're just meeting them, you wouldn't know. So I'd recommend leading with something safer, even if it's more boring, until you have seen the lay of the land.

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    I'm going to give you +1 for the pun in the first sentence. Jan 5, 2022 at 23:15

Did I make a mistake in telling team about sensitive / controversial hobby

Perhaps, but probably not. There is no way of telling if the individuals concerned actually think it controversial.

But, a general rule of thumb I follow is not to give anything but the most general personal information to people I do not know well at work unless I see some benefit in doing so. Information is valuable and can be used against you in ways you cannot always foresee.


I don't think you made a mistake here. It's my personal opinion that if a workplace will systematically hold something against you, and that thing is important to you, then that workplace is not a good fit for you and you're better off not working there. Specifically in this case, if recreational shooting is a hobby of yours, and if the company doesn't like that you do recreational shooting, then that's an important part of yourself that you may have to hide for many years (as long as you're at this company). That's not comfortable, and eventually it's going to come out sooner or later, these things always do. And then you're in hot water, and the water only gets hotter the deeper at this company you go.

In my opinion, better to rip the band-aid off quickly: Just say your hobby is shooting, and if it causes major backlash, then find another company which is more accepting of people's lifestyles like your own. Conversely, you may find someone else who will say "oh, I do recreational shooting also, wanna go practice together sometime?", and then you've made a friend.

Personally, my life philosophy is: I am who I am. If you don't want to associate with who I am, that's fine, you don't have to associate with me, and there are lots of other people who do want to; I don't need you. I find this to be the healthiest life choice for myself, and it helps me reduce stress in my life over what others think of me.

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