The Art of Down Time

by Diana La Femina, Head Editor, INALJ South Carolina

The Art of Down Time

Oofah, it’s been a busy month!

0508081839aMy first INALJ blog post, Learn From My Mistakes, came out this morning. (Stay with me now, this is the segue.) I reread it to see how it came out and to get some inspiration for this next blog post. Conclusion: I am a prophet. I can’t even begin to tell you just how insanely true my suggestions for you ended up being for me.

My New Job

Case and point: I just started a new job on Monday. Yes, I have a permanent job! And guess what? It’s not in librarianship (*insert shocked gasp here*). I got the job through networking, listening to unwanted advice, and I took a risk. Of my 7 points of advice in Learn From My Mistakes, that’s #2-5 leading to a position. What’s more, the position will help me get volunteer experience (point #1).

Down Time

What I want to elaborate on right now, though, is point #6: getting a hobby, or more specifically, having down time. Without going into boring detail, the past week and a half have been exhausting. I submitted my resume to a position on a Friday, got an interview for that following Monday (coincidentally, my 30th birthday), received a job offer, had an interview for another position, and then agonizingly had to choose between the two jobs. I know, an embarrassment of riches and not something I can really complain about (and I’m not). However, it was very stressful and I’m paying for it now.

Yep, Take Time Off

Since I started my new job on Monday, I took two days off from my temporary position to just rest. (I wrote most of this post in my pajamas and slippers.) I slept until 1:30pm (testament to how much I needed to sleep) and fulfilled my plan of leisurely going through my email and playing Elder Scrolls: Oblivion both days. I also had Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion sitting next to me but even reading felt like too much effort.

I embraced sloth and I felt not an ounce of guilt. I needed the downtime, especially if I wanted to start a new job feeling refreshed. And the whole volunteer experience thing? I’m not going to pursue that for a while. No, I’m going to settle into my new job, get into the swing of things, read, watch Doctor Who, play video games, and do whatever I want to do in my free time. Once the weather gets nicer (which feels like a pipe dream right now), I’m going to walk through parks and city streets and just enjoy my time. After more than five years of intense job searching and stress, I deserve it.

 You Deserve It

And I think that’s the main point of this blog post: you deserve down time. There’s nothing guilty about it. It heals your psyche and gives your brain much-needed rest. I know full-well just how hard it can be to relax into an enjoyable pastime when you’re job searching. But it’s necessary.


So I have some homework for you: For the next week, you are to carve out some time every day (an hour, fifteen minutes, whatever you can) and you are to do something purely for the pleasure of doing it. Take a bath, watch a horrible TV show, watch a movie and eat some popcorn. I really don’t care what you do so much as that you do something. It will help you be more productive and raise your spirits.

So go forth and waste some time, for as John Lennon said, “Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted.”


Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular webzine and jobs list (formerly I Need a Library Job) and former CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of, a crowdfunding platform focused on African patrimony, heritage and cultural projects. INALJ was founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard. Its social media presence has grown to include Facebook (retired in 2016), Twitter and a LinkedIn group, in addition to the interviews, articles and jobs found on INALJ. INALJ has had over 21 Million page hits and helped many, many thousands of librarians find employment! Through grassroots marketing, word of mouth and a real focus on exploring unconventional resources for job leads, INALJ grew from a subscription base of 20 friends to a website with over 500,000 visits in one month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this with many new jobs published daily. She has also written for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 LexisNexis Government Info Pro and many other publications in the past decade. She presents whenever she can, including serving on three panels at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Las Vegas; as breakout presenter at OCLC EMEA in Cape Town, South Africa; as a keynote speaker at the Virginia Library Association annual meeting; at the National Press Club in Washington DC; McGill University in Montreal, Canada; the University of the Emirates, Dubai, MLIS program and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and has been living and working in Budapest, Hungary and Western New York State. She spent years running her husband’s moving labor website, fixed and sold old houses and assisted her husband cooking delicious Pakistani food. She is preparing to re-enter the workforce and is job hunting. Her husband is now the co-editor of INALJ, a true support!  She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay.