The Rise of the Midlevel Professional

Why some people choose the lower pay of a midlevel career

When my wife slipped on some angry ice and cracked her wrist last winter, she dutifully rushed to a hospital emergency room for repair. Surprisingly for us, the repair person was not a big-time, lavishly paid medical doctor, but a well-skilled though somewhat more modestly rewarded “physician assistant.”

He had earned a university-awarded certificate qualifying him to set fractures, administer injections, read X-rays and perform many other challenging medical tasks associated with her ten weeks’ treatment — without a doctor.

Physician assistants constitute a rapidly expanding category of professional that is like a warrant officer in the armed forces — somewhere between an enlisted man and an officer. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that physician assistants are the fourth fastest-growing profession in the country.

More than that, physician assistants embody a major trend in job markets throughout the nation. Not only in medicine but in many other fields as well, people are finding alternatives to the daunting demands of traditional white-collar professions.

They are going into fields that require less paperwork and shorter hours than the 60 per week that have become the norm in many fields. Small wonder then that talented people are choosing to become paralegals instead of lawyers, electricians instead of electrical engineers, bookkeepers instead of accountants, opticians instead of ophthalmologists.

Choosing less stress — and less pay

Here are some typical cases:

Anthony Fresquez, 46, of San Francisco, says that as a kid, “I just loved to draw and sketch, and my goal was to become an architect, but there were financial reasons that I did not go to university. My family did not stress education, and I wasn’t prepared to go into significant debt.”

So he attended the Denver Institute of Technology for two years and earned an associate’s degree in architectural drafting. Today, he manages twelve people and earns just under $100,000 a year as a computer-aided design (CAD) draftsman at a large engineering firm. He could get somewhat more authority — and money — if he went back to college and became an architect, but that would require more work, more investment, and longer hours on the job for only marginal gains, and he has no desire to do that.

Leo Caamano, 32, of Port Chester, N.Y., wanted to be a doctor, but figured that he could never raise the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed for a medical degree. He also worried about malpractice suits and the high cost of malpractice insurance that doctors increasingly confront.

Instead of spending eight or more years studying to become a doctor, he spent four years at university and another two-and-a-half years in a hospital-based certification program for physician assistants. That certification enables him to do many of the things a medical doctor can do, short of, say, brain surgery. He can make diagnoses, prescribe medicines, order and interpret tests, conduct physical exams, and refer patients to specialists.

Says Caamano: “If I can do everything a doctor does, notably taking care of people, why not?” He earns $75,000 a year versus the $140,000 to $160,000 made by young doctors practicing family medicine in New York.

Some day, people like them may go back to college and pick up the roughly two to four years of additional class work needed to become a doctor or lawyer.

But, Fresquez said, “In my experience, people in this field don’t want to invest the time and energy to go back to school.”

More likely, many of them will focus on professions where the pay may be somewhat less but so is the stress.

By Marshall Loeb, former editor of Fortune, Money, and the Columbia Journalism Review, writes for MarketWatch.

Job Interview and Six mistakes to care off

1. You talk too muchThe advantages of the fact that you are open to discussions and you are decided to persuade the fact that you are the best can turn against you. There is the risk of boring the other person with so many details and you can even look like you don’t have the cap city to concentrate on one given subject.

2. You don’t listen

Assure that the answers will are about to give is the one the question is asking for. This is a test that will demonstrate the employer that your future project will follow the exact steps he’s expecting.

3. Falling for it

An experienced recruiter will set you the trap of relaxation, trying to make you believe this is an interview with a little importance. This does not mean that you have to avoid jokes or affirmations that have nothing to do with the professional area, but you must always promptly go back to the subject of the discussion.

4. You are trying to take the lead

If you try this you can seem arrogant. Companies tend to search for people that can work efficiently in a team. When talking about thinks you’ve done on previous jobs try to use instead of “I” the pronoun “We” as often as possible.

5. You don’t ask questions

Try and make a discussion as professional as possible, asking questions that are right on the subject. Make realistic observation regarding the company and avoid emphasis.

6. You are late

Many employers can’t understand why the candidates continue to be late, so being on time or not has a great importance in their decision. If you can’t make it on the settled hour, call in time and try to reschedule the meeting, depending on the person that conducts the interview.

Glamour Jobs: How to Get One and Succeed

Nine-to-five doesn’t sound so bad when deciding on the fashion trend of the moment, filming MTV’s next hit video, or writing the next must-read book. Here are glimpses of three people with glamour jobs and how they got there. They even offer advice on how you can get there, too.

Glamour Gig: Fashion Editor
Glamour Gal: Sasha Charnin Morrison, Us Weekly magazine

Morrison is no stranger to the pages of fashion magazines, as her stepmother was once the creative director at Vogue. But before Morrison started collecting her own credentials from the likes of Seventeen, Harper’s Bazaar, and most recently, Allure, the New York City native wanted to be a singer, majoring in drama at New York University.

After graduation, however, Morrison says her practical side won out and she decided to pursue a job in magazines. Interestingly enough, she found her drama background prepped her for the competitiveness of the publishing industry. “It prepared me for learning how to speak to people, get over the fear of having a story idea rejected, and to do whatever I needed to get that story idea [approved],” she says.? “It gave me such a great spine and the tools necessary to handle what the industry throws at me.”

Best Perk: You may be surprised to learn that a job within as an editor within the fashion industry doesn’t involve a closet of free clothes. “You get the reward of knowing that [a vendor] sold 50,000 units of something after it appeared in our magazine,” she admits. “To hear that the magazine has that kind of effect on people is mind-boggling.”

Her Advice: “There are no Cliff’s Notes on this,” she cautions. “You really have to teach yourself, in addition to everything else you learn in school. The big jobs can come early, but the junior jobs are so important because you get a sense of the history of fashion.”

Glamour Gig: Music Video Director
Glamour Guy: Julien Christian Lutz, a.k.a. “Little X”

Little X is the man behind the music videos you love, as evidenced by his two MTV Video Music Award wins for “Best Male Video” and “Best Dance Video” for Usher’s song “Yeah.” X also has directed videos for the likes of P. Diddy, 50 Cent, John Mayer, and Alicia Keys.

Originally from Toronto, X rose through the ranks by packing his bags for New York and work-work-working. “It’s that ‘immigrant hustle,'” he says. “I didn’t know anybody, didn’t have any friends or girls to distract me, so I had nothing to do but be in the office.”

But it wasn’t just hard work at his internship under the tutelage of Hype Williams that got X where he is today. It was the painstaking persistence he showed in vying for that internship. X sent a package to Hype comprised of amateur videos and a T-shirt line he created in high school. Then he called, and called, and called.

Best Perk: Traveling. “I’ve been to Africa, India, Japan, England, Los Angeles, Brazil, Mexico, and I’m based in New York,” he says. “Shooting on location is always a leadership lesson. I’m a director and I need to set the tone.”

His Advice: “Do as many internships as you can,” he says. “Get on set, pick up a video camera, show it to everybody you know, and get your hustle on. No one’s going to say, ‘Hey, you look like a talented guy — want a job?'”

Glamour Gig: Author
Glamour Gal: Karen Salmansohn (

Salmansohn took a big risk when she left her successful advertising career to write books. Pegged by critics as “Deepak Chopra meets Carrie Bradshaw,” Salmansohn is the author of such tongue-in-cheek illustrated books as “How to Change Your Life By Doing Absolutely Nothing” and “How to Make Your Man Behave in 21 Days or Less Using the Secrets of Professional Dog Trainers.” Her latest book is “The Bound Back Book: When Life Throws You Curveballs, Hit Them Out of the Park.”

In what seems to be a recurring theme in Salmansohn’s success story, her career jump-started when she got an unexpected lift. “I was working at MTV doing freelance writing for the filmettes that go on between videos,” explains Salmansohn, who counts Jon Stewart, Madonna, Jay Leno, and Vanity Fair editor-in-chief Graydon Carter among her fan base. “This guy I barely knew got on the elevator with me, and he said, ‘What’s new?’ and I said, ‘I just finished my first novel.'” By the time Salmansohn arrived on the first floor, she had scored a book agent’s name and number. “I always joke that if MTV had its offices on the third floor instead of the 24th, I might never have gotten a book deal.”

Best Perk: A life of reading, writing, and no arithmetic. “I get to sit in cafes all day and drink coffee,” says the Emerson College film studies grad. “Even if I went on ‘Oprah’ and became a million-dollar writer, I’d still be doing what I do today — I’d just be doing it in more expensive clothes.”

Her Advice: “Create a career pickup line,” she says. “Know what you can say in 30 seconds to sell yourself quickly. It’s all based on what your unique selling point is.”

Get closer to your own dream career now.

Written by: Jennifer Merritt