Forget Leaning In, It’s Time For Women To Push Back

Good news: You’re the boss. Bad news: You’re the boss

My promotion was cause for celebration for everyone but me. Friends clinked glasses at happy hour, and though I smiled over martinis, I felt dread. I’d worked so hard for my new title, but I already crammed my art into the nooks and crannies of the occasional free evening. For a (very) mild pay raise and resume-fattening responsibility, I’d be giving up more time and energy to do work that frankly bored me. Saying so aloud seemed like spitting on my privilege.

Only one person in my life understood my ambivalence: my father. The first in his family to go to college and land a gig that required pressed shirts and briefcases, he’s prone to waxing nostalgic about his college construction job, the one he took to pay off the tuition that was supposed to give him a “better” life. Laying bricks left his body sore and his mind unfettered; he missed knowing that when he put his hammer down for the day, his life was his own.

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The Cure For Cyberchondria

Is the era of late-night symptom checking coming to a close?

I discovered I was dying on a random Tuesday morning at 2 a.m. Why else would my breasts be agonizingly swollen, sore, and squishy with funky little lumps when I was an otherwise healthy 20-something? These symptoms—combined with crushing fatigue—clearly, incontrovertibly indicated a swift-moving form of cancer, at least according to WebMD. As I searched around the health care website, headlines seemed to toggle from “Breast Pain: Should You Worry?” to “Breast Pain: You Should Worry.” Within moments, I’d joined a legion of other infirm insomniacs in their pajamas. Together, we were stoking our health anxiety by searching: Is that headache a brain tumor? Could that toe tingle be a sign of multiple sclerosis?

Twenty years ago, if you had a physical ailment you either made an appointment to visit a doctor or a decision to ignore it and move on. Then WebMD came along, aggregating all matters of medical information online and delivering it for free, sparking a whole new digital phenomenon: cyberchondria. For the millions of people who use the site, it serves as both education and entertainment (let’s be honest, talking yourself into having a potentially fatal illness is the equivalent of telling a scary story in the dark). But WebMD is also empowering, offering insights that can aid with a doctor visit, helping you brush up on relevant medical history and offering smart questions to ask.

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