How Dr. Alexander Rivkin Made a Nonlinear Career Path Work
Career alternatives for doctors and nurses can lead to Medical Aesthetics.
Discover Dr. Alexander Rivkin’s journey into Medical Aesthetics and what he personally shares with many industry newcomers who hail from different career backgrounds.
The birth of an industry.
Dr. Alexander Rivkin, MD, never intended to become an aesthetic surgeon or even a surgeon at all. His interest in the medical field was rooted in his passion for how the mind works, so his original goal was to become a psychiatrist. During medical school rotations, he rotated through surgery and his interest was piqued. He did a rotation in otolaryngology—the type of doctor commonly referred to as an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist—and decided that was to be his career.
“Once I started learning all about medicine, and seeing it up close, surgery became very interesting to me,” he explains. “It was very intense and much more regimented.”
But as the years went by and his training continued, he realized that he missed the creativity that he used to enjoy as a Bachelor of Arts. Dr. Rivkin’s realization was happening at the same time the Medical Aesthetics field was in its genesis, around the time aesthetic neurotoxins and fillers had been approved for use in patients.
Dr. Rivkin immediately saw that Medical Aesthetics had much potential for growth and development. Luckily for him, his head and neck surgery residency had exposed him to facial plastic surgery as part of training. He took his experience and decided to open his own practice, focusing on nonsurgical aesthetics.
“I felt like what I really wanted to do was explore this brand-new world and develop new procedures and treatments. So that’s what I did,” he says. He opened his Los Angeles-based practice in 2002.
“To me, aesthetics marries two somewhat disparate interests I have,” Dr. Rivkin says. “I really like helping people. That’s certainly what drew me to medicine. But I also like creativity and being challenged to think for myself, and creatively helping people achieve their aesthetic goals.”
The intersection of personal and professional life.
Dr. Rivkin emphasizes the importance of bringing some of his personality into his professional life, even when it comes to how his practice shows up on social media. “I think it’s important for patients to know who they’re going to see and who the person is,” he explains.
His social content contains educational information, before-and-afters, but also a bit of humor as well as personal opinions and advice. He says that a lot of people reach out to him through social media—both patients and Medical Aesthetics professionals. Giving them a glimpse of what he is like as a person makes those interactions more fulfilling.
“I also think it’s important for people who are just starting out to see that there are people in this profession who are multidimensional and have a variety of interests,” Dr. Rivkin says.
For example, Dr. Rivkin’s Ukrainian heritage has inspired him to get involved with relief efforts. He has worked with colleagues to provide medical supplies and water treatment equipment to Ukraine, and continues to seek out other opportunities to help out. “I’m never going to forget where I’m from, where my wife is from, and I’m going to make sure my kids never forget. So, with what’s going on over there, I’m always trying to do whatever I can,” he explains.
He adds that it’s important to him to maintain his nonwork interests and pursuits, and to prioritize time for family and diverse experiences. “I guess I’m just a little bit stubborn to where staying a three-dimensional person matters to me.”
Dr. Rivkin isn’t alone in that aspect, especially when it comes to millennial and Gen Z professionals whose desire for flexibility and work-life balance are driving more nonlinear career paths.1
Millennials and Gen Zers are embracing nonlinear career paths.
The trajectory of careers is changing and millennials and Gen Zers are fueling this shift. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has been following this. While the BLS estimates that baby boomers hold an average of 11 jobs during their working adulthood, millennials, many of whom entered the job market in the shadow of the Great Recession, might be on track to switch not only jobs but entire career trajectories at an even higher rate.2
About half of today’s Gen Zers and millennials want a nontraditional career, and almost half (47%) of U.S. students who had a defined career path are now reassessing their options.3
Dissatisfaction with pay and extremely low engagement levels (just 29%) are driving millennials to switch jobs at a rate 3 times higher than other age groups.4 For Gen Z, family and personal life, personal health and well-being, and flexibility are fueling job switching. Notably, if a LinkedIn® job post mentions flexibility, Gen Z has a 77% likelihood to engage with the job post.5
Like Dr. Rivkin, the newest and largest part of the workforce values nonwork-related aspects of life when it comes to finding a fulfilling career. This applies not only to himself but also to the employees he hires.
Career alternatives for doctors and nurses.
Dr. Rivkin sees qualities in medical professionals who work outside of aesthetics that apply to the field. “It’s beneficial because physicians, nurses, PAs, and nurse practitioners have experience being in an intense setting as well as the ability to deal with people on a more effective level,” he says.
There’s also the additional quality of being able to establish a connection with a new patient. “It’s a really important skill to truly connect with someone in a matter of seconds and that’s a skill that is developed through experience interacting with patients.”
Dr. Rivkin always looks for someone who will be a good fit with his practice’s culture. For him, that means maintaining a collaborative and pleasant attitude. “The culture of your practice affects who the patients are that will come in to see you,” he explains.
Even for doctors and nurses exploring alternative careers, Dr. Rivkin emphasizes the importance of an appreciation for aesthetics and an interest in learning and continuing education from the beginning. He even provides a stipend for his employees to attend trainings and conferences.
As Medical Aesthetics continues to grow, Dr. Rivkin looks forward to welcoming future professionals to the field.
“There’s always going to be room for good practitioners, for people with a good aesthetic eye, interpersonal skills, and especially for people who are honest,” he says. “I think there’s always going to be room for excellence in our field.”
About Dr. Alexander Rivkin, MD
A pioneer behind nonsurgical rhinoplasty, Dr. Alexander Rivkin is a top aesthetics expert, practicing with skill, expertise, and compassion. In addition to his Los Angeles-based practice, which he opened in 2002, Dr. Rivkin is an Assistant Clinical Professor at the David Geffen/UCLA School of Medicine. He is an international authority in his field and has been featured throughout the national and international media. He divides his time between patient care, clinical research, physician education, media appearances, and lecturing at scientific conferences throughout the world. Dr. Rivkin’s vision is to change the way aesthetic medicine is practiced today and aspires for patients to have more noninvasive treatment options.
https://www.theatlantic.com/sponsored/jpmc-2017/the-next-episode/1742/. Accessed June 20, 2022
https://teamstage.io/millennials-in-the-workplace-statistics/. Accessed June 20, 2022