How to Be Happy

by Julie Watson, INALJ Pennsylvania Head Editor

How to Be Happy

julie_watsonStudent loan debt. A tight job market. Rejection letters. Uncertainty. Stress. Worry. Fed-up. Frustrated.


No, “happy” is not a word often associated with job-seekers.

Do you dream of the day when you land your dream job (or let’s face it, any job)? That will be the day you’re happy, right?

Wrong. Research shows that the path to happiness is not accumulating wealth or possessions, finding the perfect mate, sculpting the “ideal” body, or landing that dream job. These things may make you temporarily happy (elated even!), but they will not bring you lasting happiness.

So what will?

There are plenty of books, magazine and journal articles, blog postings, and internet videos dedicated to the pursuit of happiness. Science, spirituality, and popular culture all have things to say about it. I want to share what works for me.


This time of year, we set aside a few days to give thanks.  This is not enough! Gratitude, when approached as a daily practice can bring a pervading sense of happiness. For 40 days, take a few moments each day to record what you are thankful for. Usually for me, it’s the simple things: a sunny afternoon walk, my dog wagging her tail when I return home, a great conversation with a friend, a wonderful meal. There are many ways to practice gratitude. You can write in a journal, make a gratitude jar, or use social media (see link below for more ideas). At the end of 40 days, you’ll find yourself automatically appreciating what you have (instead of feeling burdened by what you lack), and you’ll feel a greater overall sense of happiness. It may be a subtle change at first. Keep with the intention of gratitude and over time you’ll see how powerful its effect can be.

In your gratitude practice, remember to include things related to your job search. Even if you’ve had no job offers, there are little successes along the way. Interviews, positive feedback, support from others, even acknowledgement that your application was received can become beacons of light leading you towards happiness in the here and now.

Gratitude practice ideas: 10 simple gratitude projects

More on Gratitude and happiness from the Wall Street Journal: Thank You. No, Thank You.

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.