Stave off boredom and sharpen your skills with free career-based podcasts - Scott Livengood

Stave off boredom and sharpen your skills with free career-based podcasts

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If you’re sitting at home most of the day, chances are that at some point, you’ll get bored. Let’s face it, even celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres can be found lying around on her couch with nothing to do. She resorted to calling fellow A-list celebrities like Justin Timberlake, John Legend and Chrissy Teigen to see how they’re spending their time in quarantine. “We’re bored, too,” Legend told her.

Many of us are working at home, but it’s tough when we can’t skip out the door for lunch, meet up with a colleague or go to the gym. Plus, it’s hard to make small talk with your roommate or significant other by telling them how things went at work. After all, they were there.

So, what are we to do? “Do something useful. Try something new,” our parents used to say. In the digital world, that doesn’t have to be a drag. There are thousands of free podcasts and video courses that have been made into entertaining games. They can help you expand your horizons or teach you a practical skill that might even make you more marketable or valuable — especially timely if you currently find yourself out of work. So put on your headphones and check these out.

The Pinkcast

Topics from workplace expert Daniel Pink include: “This is how to stop people from interrupting you on the job,” “This is how to think like a hotshot” and “This is how to network without feeling slimy.” Most episodes are around two minutes long. Practice what you just learned at home: When you get back to your office, your colleagues will wonder how you suddenly became so effective.

(; Free)

LinkedIn Learning

Here you’ll find thousands of video courses that can teach you such varied skills as “Embracing unexpected change” and “Getting into the mind of the hiring manager,” as well as “Learning Excel online (Office 365)” and “Data science foundations: Data mining.” Classes run everywhere from a few minutes to several hours. With some courses, you can even earn continuing-education credits and LinkedIn Learning certificates.

(; One month free trial, $29.99 per month thereafter)

Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips

Founded by Mignon Fogarty, these award-winning podcasts are for those who want to communicate better or improve their grammar. Podcast topics include everything from “7 ways to write better e-mail messages” and “How do you make your main point? It is harder than you think,” to “Top 10 writing and grammar mistakes that even published authors make.” Grammar Girl’s original podcast was so successful that it has expanded to other subjects as well. There’s Money Girl, who offers tips on subjects like “Negotiating for more money.” Modern Mentor offers lessons on “How to make idea curation your workplace superpower” while Relationship Doctor features “Three ways to save your relationship from technology.”

(; Free)

Eat Sleep Work Repeat

Bruce Daisley, Twitter’s former vice president, interviews experts and authors on such topics as “Getting more work done by working less,” “Building a career out of a freelance lifestyle and a side hustle” and even “Inside the Liverpool Culture of Jurgen Klopp.” Klopp, manager of the Liverpool soccer team, is generally regarded as the best manager in the world.

(ACast, Apple, Spotify; Free)

Unlocking Us

Brené Brown, bestselling author of “The Gifts of Imperfection,” “Daring Greatly,” “Rising Strong,” “Braving the Wilderness” and “Dare To Lead,” just launched a podcast aimed at helping listeners “unlock the deeply human part of who we are.” In the introductory episode of “Unlocking Us,” Brown talks about the challenges and opportunities of doing things for the very first time. She argues that if you don’t allow yourself to be vulnerable and try (and possibly fail), you’ll stop growing.

(Apple, Google, Spotify, Stitcher and more; Free)


Duolingo is a free language learning app that offers gamified instruction in more than 30 languages, including Hawaiian, Irish, Navajo (in beta), Swahili and Welsh. Recently, they even added Klingon from the “Star Trek” universe. Classes are aimed at both absolute beginners and individuals with some fluency who can test out of the earlier lessons. (A lesson can take less than three minutes.) In some cases, there are also podcasts and interactive stories available, which can enhance your repertoire.

(; Free)


Adam Grant, bestselling author and Wharton School professor, often features business and academic celebrities to explore subjects. These include procrastination (with Margaret Atwood, author of “The Handmaid’s Tale”), exploring how group brainstorming can be successful, going behind the scenes of “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah,” and how to trust people you don’t like with Paolo Angelo Nespoli, Italian astronaut and engineer of the European Space Agency.

( iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher and more; Free)

Go to Greg

The Post’s career columnist, Greg Giangrande, offers genuine, often humorous, straight talk on workplace issues.

(iTunes; Free)

About Scott Livengood

Scott Livengood is the owner and CEO of Dewey’s Bakery, Inc., a commercial wholesale bakery with a respected national brand of ultra premium cookies and crackers.

Previously, Scott worked at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts for 27 years, starting as a trainee in 1977. He was appointed President of the company in 1992, then CEO and Chairman of the Board.

Scott has served on numerous boards including the Carter Center, the Calloway School of Business and the Babcock School of Management, Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County, and the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce.

He started a new business, StoryWork International, in 2016 with Richard Stone. The signature achievement to date is LivingStories, a story-based program for improved patient experiences and outcomes in partnership with Novant Health.