July 23, 2013

Chasing Practicality and Passion

[Image: Vetiver Aromatics]

This is a guest post by Lauren Salisbury

What career to pursue? It was an obsession of mine for the eight years I spent in high school and college.

I knew that I wanted a 9-to-5, a regular paycheck, and benefits…but I also wanted a career that would get me out of bed every morning excited. I was seeking a path that was equal parts practicality and passion.

I was most passionate about writing, but I didn’t view it as a direct route to my practical goals.

I was also obsessed with fragrances. I liked everything about perfume, from the scents to the marketing campaigns to the bottle designs.  I wondered, who was creating perfumes and scented body washes? It dawned on me that creating these products I loved was somebody’s job.  Could it eventually be mine?

I mentioned pursuing a fragrance career to those around me, but was stuck with a range of unenthusiastic responses, like, “Huh?”  “Don’t you want to do something less frivolous with your life?” and the best, “Perfume?  I thought you were too smart for that.”

Had I been less than real with myself, these comments would’ve shot me straight down the path to law school.

[Side note: I did apply to law school, but I don't recommend this for anybody less than passionate about being an attorney. Lawyerdom is not a fall-back career for the otherwise undecided.]

How could pursuing what I loved be “frivolous”? Why did being smart mean I should put aside joy and passion? As if only certain people were expected to pursue what really fascinated them.  I worried that if I pursued perfume, I might appear less intelligent.

Self-conscious that my interest in fragrance was deemed shallow, I was terrified that my thinking was all wrong. But a nagging feeling told me that pursuing a different career for appearance’s sake was ridiculous.  One day I would be dead; in the meantime, I wanted my life to be interesting, and my own judgment was all that mattered.

Besides, I was already casting writing aside for something I hoped would lead me into a corporate setting, instead of a freelancing one. That was my choice, and I couldn’t let others who had no interest in perfume decide for me that it wasn’t worth pursuing.

I stuck to my guns and eventually learned that fragrance is a billion-dollar industry. Now “perfume” had potential. No matter where your passion lies, a billion-dollar business makes the question of frivolity a moot point.

Bingo: a fragrance career; a professional community; a regular paycheck.  It was practical, and it was my passion.

Stay tuned to liveinthegrey.com as Lauren shares more with us about life in the fragrance industry!


Lauren Salisbury, live in the greyLauren Salisbury is currently a Fragrance Development Manager at ScentAir. She has created fragrances for the past seven years and as you can tell, still loves to write.




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