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Storm chasing and the workplace

Anyone here ever tell their boss that they storm chase? If so, what was their reaction to it?

The reason I'm asking is because I am currently job seeking. I had an interview yesterday for a job trial placement (a 3 day non-paid placement to see if the field I want is right fit for me). My job coach was with me, and suggested I tell my job trial supervisor about my hobby (she already knows about what I do). I almost felt kinda leary, because I was not sure how he would react to it. Plus it seemed to come out of the blue, so I found it a little awkward. I realize this is only a job trial placement, and he thought it was cool what I do, but I am not sure whether or not to tell my future real supervisors about my storm chasing hobby. Would they think I like to take time off work to chase, or if I get distracted from my work when a storm is brewing outside?

Also, how would you go about asking your boss for a week or two off to go on a storm chasing vacation? I was thinking of heading down in May, assuming I have enough money and have some way to get back home.

Thanks for any feedback 8)
Both my current jobs know I do it, and both of them I have asked for time off/shift switches/etc to chase. They're both pretty simple jobs, though, so nothing professional, which makes it a bit easier to get away with I would imagine, but at the same time, if you can stir some interest, it may make it easier to get away with. :)
Laura, I would think that it boils down to what impact your storm chasing would have on the employer/workplace; chasing is a big part of your life. For example (and I know it's tough, happens everytime to me ;-) ), are you going to be distracted when the weather is raging? Are you going to be wanting time off to chase above and beyond holidays, paid days off, etc.? If you think these type of things are issues, then the employer should know (and could turn you down because of it, but at least you are honest). However, if you are joining the work force, then chasing needs to take a back seat. Job first, hobby second (sucks, I know...). Include storm chasing in a hobby section on your resume/application; it will no doubt be commented on. Be sure to let prospective employers know (only if asked of course) that there will be no problem with work conflicting with chasing: job first, hobby second. That is the extent of it with regards to work/employer/chasing. What you choose to do on your regularly scheduled time off and vacation is no ones business but your own.

Best of luck in your search!!
Be well, TR
I told my boss that I was a storm chaser as soon as I was hired. Every time that I ask off to chase, I let him know that chasing is the reason I need off. I don't think that I could keep the cat in the bag for very long anyway..........I report to KOTV 6 News and sell them video, so people at work are always seeing my name on the news.

The management at ONEOK has been really cool with it too. The Tulsa World wanted to do an article on Dave Crowley and me and they wanted a picture of me at work. My boss asked his boss, and they said that it would be alright.

With honesty comes trust, I say tell 'em!
I would imagine that storm chasing as a hobby is a two edged sword when considered by a potential employer.

The positive side is that it shows that you are an interesting person with an active mind and perhaps an active lifestyle. This is good, people hire people that they like or think they might like and people with hobbies are interesting and likeable.

The negative side is that if they happen to equate storm chasing with fishing, skiing or any of the other hobbies of folks who's hobbies are more important than work then they may recognize this as a potential trouble spot.

How you play it is your own call. I let employers know that my life is more than just work, some respect that and some don't. But to be honest I have rarely worked for other people or in a corporate setting much.

If you feel an interview is going well and you want to show the employer what an interesting and likeable person you are then bring it up. If you feel you need to play it down and pretend to be an "all work no play" sort of person then hide the fact that you are likely to disapear inexplicably for a few days in the spring.

I would assume that if you are discussing hobbies then the interview is going very well and any downsides could be ignored.
I recently went back to work for a friend that I worked for a few years back. The first time, despite him knowing where I stood coming in, he made chasing a big issue on a few occasions when things were busy during prime season. I ended up missing some major events in 2002 and 2003 because of the job, so I quit. Back in June, he came calling again after a year without me. I strung him along for a few months, saying that I needed a guarantee that the payment issues of past wouldn't be a problem this time. He promised me the moon, but in the end I said "You will have to fire me in the Spring, because I'm not missing a single event that I feel is worth chasing, I donlt care how busy we are or how important the deadline is." He said he needed 24 hours' notice and everything would be fine. Then I hit him with "There will be times where I'll be gone 3-5 days at a time." Again he said with 24 hors' notice it would be cool. This was back in August when I took the job (again).

Time will tell if he holds his end of the bargain, but whether he does or not won't matter. I can always find work. And I will always chase.
My employers have either found out in discussions during the interviews, or quickly after I came onboard. I saw no reason to hide it, or I wouldn't have my lightning pictures framed all over my office :eek:

I'm in the recreation field within a University setting, so they sort of find comfort in knowing that I'm always watching the weather. We are constantly dealing with the weather during outdoor activities so they like to be able to come to me and ask what I think.

I haven't chased for long periods of time so I don't really take vacation. If I take an afternoon off, I don't turn it in for vacation so it's not a big deal. The only requirement is that they get pictures when I get back. I can live with that.

I think if you're taking vacation it shouldn't really matter as long as your doing it within company policy as others have mentioned already. Most of them will be interested in your hobby. Just remember that it is a hobby if you want to keep that job. :wink:


Everybody I work with knows I'm into chasing. All it takes is 10 seconds looking at my desk, or seeing the whacky computer contraption in my car during a lunch break. They're all into it, including my bosses. However, I work in the video games industry, and our time schedules are about as strict as you could possibly imagine. Hence, I don't really have any choice but to take my time off in big chunks, with at least 3 months' notice. I like my job, and I have to do things this way if I want to stay competitive, because there's plenty of people out there who would be happy to take my place.
Hah...i work in a weather office...My boss helps me find a target location ;)
Its kinda cool...when I do chase locally, I call in and give them live reports in the field..
Interesting discussion. When I joined my practice, I kept it fairly secret until I became a partner. I think in many circles, storm chasing is thought of as a bit odd. Most people have only seen Twister and they'll think of Dusty or one of the other strange characters. My hobbies were listed as nature and landscape photography (close-enough) Once people have a chance to learn about storm chasing (and realize that you are relatively normal) then it is not a problem and may be helpful. I think it is best not to say anything until one is is secure in the job. "Photography" is a great subsitute term. Be prepared to answer questions about the weather when your coworkers find out.

The problem with storm chasing is the distraction. If there are no storms locally, then there are storms someplace else to follow. That is lost work time. Plus, in some companies, Big Brother may be monitoring internet usage.

Bill Hark
I am a "work to live" and "live to chase" person and I find that in the workplace the people that will give you the most grief are the "live to work" types. I keep my storm chasing passion to myself and only let it known to other "work to live" people.
Ah, good, so I ain't the only one LOL. Thanks for the replies guys, I think this turned out to be an interesting topic. Usually the people I meet always end up finding out sooner or later that I storm chase.

I guess it is better to be honest than to lie, when it comes to taking days off for chasing. Who knows if your boss will catch your name on the news or something. I have never missed a day of work because of storm chasing... when I was working during the summer of 2001, I had to miss a tornado chase day July 4th... knew my other friends were out there catching tornadoes, it drove me nuts. Bill, you raised a good point about using the Internet... I think many companies do monitor Internet usage (especially if they are big), or a co-worker might spot you browsing instead of working. I actually admit I made that mistake when I was working during the summer of 2001... only got reminded that I should be working, but I will never do that again unless I ask.

As far as taking a week off, you guys are right... it's gotta be within company policy. I hope my future boss is a bit easy going on that kind of thing, because May only comes once a year. I'd try to make up the lost hours as well and not take off vacation during the summer.
It helps if you are active in a local spotter group. That way you can bring out that your are safety-minded and public-service oriented, traits that many employers respect and may even be looking for. Also, offer to keep the company informed of any weather-related events that may affect their operations.

In short, emphasize the positive aspects of the hobby and the benefits it could offer to the company.
Originally posted by Douglas D. Lee
It helps if you are active in a local spotter group. That way you can bring out that your are safety-minded and public-service oriented

Thats what works for me, not so much with my boss, but with the local Police, they Know I'm a spotter so they leave me along when I'm shooting lightning in spots I shouldn't be in :wink:
I've never told any of my employers up front that I chase - they usually find out on their own once they see my car. Most people around here seem to think of it as a legitimate activity (some people even think it's a job, although I'm quick to correct them that it isn't) - so I've never had trouble taking time off to chase.
I wish I could say the same! Being in the Air Force, and in the situation the world is in right now, It is VERY hard to get any extended amount of time off. On top of that, I am scheduled to head over to the mideast this spring. So, already, it looks like no chasing for me...time to look ahead to season '06! :lol:
I guess working in a weather office I am kind of required to chase and be available on storm days. I couldn't ask for a better job to have in the springtime. Getting paid to chase and forecast is doing what I love 365 days a year.

Originally posted by James Conrad
I guess working in a weather office I am kind of required to chase and be available on storm days. I couldn't ask for a better job to have in the springtime. Getting paid to chase and forecast is doing what I love 365 days a year.

That really must be nice.

My employer knows that I chase. They do not have a problem with it. However, it is such a pain in the rear to take the time off to chase. I have a job that requires you to think and act very quickly to changes and things change quite frequently and for the most part the changes are not good. Lucky for me (not) I am the only one that knows how to do it and do it well. My point is, when I do take off work (for any reason) I really do not take off work because they seem to think they need to call me 10 times a day and most of the time they are not very nice about it. I get 5 weeks of vacation each year but I only take 2 weeks because I just don’t want to hear it. What the hell is a vacation for if you have to work?!?!?

Thanks for letting me vent.