News Crew Chat: Added Tasks During Pandemic & Study Abroad Program For Non-Students

The news team talks about added tasks during the pandemic and a study abroad program for adults who aren’t college students. WCCO Mid-Morning - June 11, 2021

Video Transcript

SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD: --Friday, and thanks for watching "Mid-Morning." Many workers took on more duties during the pandemic.

JASON DERUSHA: You're not going to believe it. The more work you had to do during a pandemic, people are more stressed out and anxious. Boy, knocked me over with a feather. I was shocked to read this research. Of course people are more anxious!

SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD: Yeah, anecdotally we've been thinking that. But yeah, now there's numbers to back it up. A survey of about 7,000 workers in June 2020 and again in January of this year say that by January, there was a 52% rise in burnout, and 20% rise in disrupted sleep, and 15% rise in work related stress. What do you think about that?

JASON DERUSHA: It's the most obvious thing ever, right? Of course people are more stressed out, and things are going on in two ways. And I think all of us and certainly employers are going to have to navigate this as we re-enter a more normal workload, right? But on the one hand, about 20% of the people they surveyed picked up caregiving duties as well so like doing distance learning with their kids. So when you're doing that and you're trying to figure out work from home, of course you're going to be more stressed out. But even for people who didn't pick up caregiving duties, so many people ended up taking on additional duties at work for a multitude of reasons, right?

SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD: Right, yeah. Sometimes there were cutbacks in the company, whatever. Things change. But the word that was going in my head big time, Jason, this morning when I was reading through this research was "boundaries." Hopefully, at this point in the pandemic, we've learned to set some boundaries, whether it's here's when my workday ends, because it's gotten really blurry working at home.

JASON DERUSHA: Well, and that's the thing, right? So I think about my wife who works from home and has worked from home for--


JASON DERUSHA: I don't know, 15 years or so.


JASON DERUSHA: When she started working from home, she did some preparation for it. What's the best way to do this? How do I set up my office? How do I set up my workday? And everyone else who ended up working from home, there was no preparation.


JASON DERUSHA: There was no time to think through how to do it.


JASON DERUSHA: You just had to do it. And you're trying to navigate also your kids at home and trying to teach them how to log on to Schoology, or Google Meetings, or whatever. Which if you have a first or second grader, good luck. What I wonder, when we get back-- most people are going to come back to work in the fall. All the kids are going to go back to school. What will be the residual effect? Are people going to be more resentful, because they feel like they were taken advantage of during the pandemic? Are they going to have different expectations as to workload? I don't know. It'll be curious what we see.

SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD: Yeah. I think we've built some resiliency, though.

JASON DERUSHA: Yeah, I hope so. I hope so. And people are probably going to have to come back to work to a certain degree, right? Unless you have the opportunity to go overseas. College students often have that opportunity to study abroad.

SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD: Yeah, this is so cool. Listen here, OK? Now there's a new company, and it's offering adults the opportunity for a study abroad type experience. This is it. It's a four week chapter thing. That's kind of how it works. So it's about $3,000, and you go to different countries. You learn different skills. Maybe you're going to learn a new language, how to make homemade pasta in Italy.

JASON DERUSHA: It's called "Sojrn."


JASON DERUSHA: S-O-J-R-N, because it's way cooler if you don't have vowels in it.


JASON DERUSHA: So this is for the young people.

MIKE AUGUSTYNIAK: No, it's not. Come on, let's do it.

SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD: Well, I think, too, more people are staying single later in life more than ever.

JASON DERUSHA: You're young.


JASON DERUSHA: Yes. So would you do this?

SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD: Absolutely, 100%. Obviously, our work doesn't afford this, but I think so many people do.

MIKE AUGUSTYNIAK: Could this not be for older or middle aged people, too, that have kids that are headed off to college or perhaps adult kids?


JASON DERUSHA: I just assumed because they had no vowels in it--

SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD: Totally, that it was hipster.

JASON DERUSHA: --they were marketing it to the millennials. This is for the youngs.

SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD: Probably millennials. But the only rule is you have to be over 21.



JASON DERUSHA: So here's what your money gets you. You get a workspace with Wi-Fi, which is actually a big deal when you think about going overseas. Often that is the challenge, trying to find a good space with Wi-Fi. You get a local host to guide you around a little bit. There is a curriculum as well, and that's sort of what Susan-Elizabeth was referring to. There's a Spanish language four week chapter in Medellin, mental wellness in Bali, philosophy in Greece. Pretty cool, it sounds fantastic.

MIKE AUGUSTYNIAK: One of my biggest regrets-- and I don't have many in life-- was that when I was just coming out of college, there was an opening for a tenure track professor job in Australia. So I could go to a cool country at a very exotic spot in the world, still be able to speak English, and talk about weather. And I did not apply for it. Instead, I went into television.

SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD: OK. And here we are talking about people who do those things.

JASON DERUSHA: Did you study abroad, Sus?

SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD: Yes, I did. I was in Rome, Italy. What about you?

JASON DERUSHA: No, I never did. I spent a summer in New York, which is like a foreign country for a guy from the Midwest--

SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD: That's an experience of itself.

JASON DERUSHA: --summer interning at the network.

SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD: But it did feel like, OK, if you weren't able to study abroad for whatever reason, that that stage of life was gone. So the idea that, hey, maybe not.

MIKE AUGUSTYNIAK: Your second chance.

SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD: Yeah, because you're trying to stretch your vacation days to get overseas and everything like that. But to think like you can submerse yourself in culture and keep advancing in your career?

MIKE AUGUSTYNIAK: Well, so here's what I'm thinking. ViacomCBS, a great company to work for, now owns Network 10 in Australia.


MIKE AUGUSTYNIAK: Based in Sydney.


MIKE AUGUSTYNIAK: I assume they have weather on Network 10.

SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD: Make the pitch now, Mike. Bob Bakish, I would be happy to relocate for the benefit of ViacomCBS.

JASON DERUSHA: Sure, for the company. It's for them.




MIKE AUGUSTYNIAK: You know how to get me. You can slack me or call me.

JASON DERUSHA: Do all the fronts go in the other direction in Australia?

MIKE AUGUSTYNIAK: They do. Flows go in the other direction. It's very exciting. I think I could handle it.

SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD: Yeah, you can figure it out.


JASON DERUSHA: Sure, just hit the reverse button on you weather maps.

MIKE AUGUSTYNIAK: Oh, I'm being told I can do that, but I still also need to do weather here.