Saturday, January 16, 2010

A look in the past: Studying...

Are you sitting comfortable and having something to drink? Good. So my thesis. I mentioned my thesis several times in my posts, but I never really mentioned what it is about basically…I didn’t want to bore you guys with the subject. But okay, some of you wanted to know and it slowly becomes a danger for future you all deserve to know what's holding me in its grip for the weeks to come...First, let me tell you a little bit about my school career. At the moment I study sociology for my Master’s degree at the Erasmus University. Before this I studied Human Resource management (HRM) for 4 years and I got my Bachelor’s degree. Here I also had to write my first thesis and this thesis was connected to a international project ( and a two week trip to Lithuania ^_^!). But okay, studying went fairly easy and I graduated at the age of 20. After graduation, I decided to go for my Master’s degree in Sociology. This study is like an extension of my previous study, so a lot of information is known to a certain level and therefore seeing resemblances in theories, understanding how society works was not that difficult. But now I'm at the end again and the final challenge is my thesis...

It seriously looks like I'm giving the finger to my laptop...that I didn't mean to do...

I can tell a lot more how the years of studying went, but I will spare you all the details. The thing that makes it difficult now is the continuing editing process. My first thesis wasn't that difficult to write, maybe it made it easier for me because I loved the international aspect of my thesis and I wrote it in English. For some reason writing in English comes more fluently for me than writing in Dutch...and I'm Dutch -_-. Either way, the rules for handing in the final research were not complicated at all. I started with the subjects’ individualization and globalization last year and after reading lots and lots of articles and theories, I came across one article from Julian Le Grand, that caught my eye immediately. Le Grand did a research about the motivation, agency and public policy of civilians, which he categorizes as Knights & Knaves.

In short, knights are altruistic of nature and knaves are self centered. A civilian has each role, but one can be more present then the other. This depends for example on generation differences. I want to combine these motivations with an up to date subject and I chose aging of the population. The main thoughts of my thesis is: how motivations could have changed over time and how civilians will support labor market participation of elderly and also why they wouldn't support this.
To do this, I have to analyze data and keep reading and keep analyzing information. After reading a bunch of things…again…I’m struggling with the definition and use of certain words. And it is important to get all of this straightened out now, before I really start with the data (Luckily I already have the data, thanks to my professors!).
But yeah, finding the right definitions, otherwise it will be a real pain in the ass, to edit it afterward. Don't get me wrong, I like Sociology and I find it really interesting to see how an individual can act like a society, but all these years of studying just really made me tired and I’m losing my motivation to study like I used to ^_^’…

Throughout the years I often got the question ‘Why didn’t you study Arts or did something with drawing for that matter?’. Well, this is a story for another post…I think this one is already quite long hehe (and I just stuck to the core elements haha!). But if you want to know more or have questions about something more specific about my thesis, just let me know.
Thanks for reading this ehm...more 'serious' post hehe! Hope you liked the doodles too ^_^! I didn't do something fancy with them this time.



  1. LMAO, you soooo meant to give the finger to your laptop, it was like a Freudian-slip!

    And I think that's the longest thesis idea I have seen. What were the definitions that you were having trouble with? What's labor market activation? I can't find a definition on google lol

    And I liked your drawings, they were cute and helped me through this VERY long post hehe, just kidding :)

  2. @ Sensico: Hahahah noooo...I don't want to give the finger to my laptop...okay sometimes I do. I didn't even noticed it until my sister pointed it out tho haha!

    Yeah, I think in this case if I had written it in Dutch it would be a littler shorter hehe!
    Sometimes it is a bit tricky to translate what I do entirely to English. But when you said labor market activation, you got me wondering...I thought I wrote labor market participation! Man and I read this post like ten times before I posted it! But yeah, I meant LM participation hehe. How would one support the elderly to go back to work. In Holland it is very problematic.
    Oh! LM activation is focused on policies that can be used to get people on the labor market (by training, specific programs etc). Not sure if there is standard definition for it...I guess it depends how it is used in research.

    Other problems are the use of the words knights and knaves when I want to analyze data. It seems that Le Grand didn't used statistic data to define these two words. So I need to dig deeper and read through a few other theories Le Grand used and see if these theories have a scientific definition of them. Otherwise I need to use a broader term.

    I shall edit the post...again...

    Thank you for reading it all ^_^!!

  3. Thanks for the post.

    I wonder how do you analyze the statistics. What methods do you use? This may be the same with the methods we used in statistical physics.

  4. @ Kuday: Heey Sinan! You're very welcome! I use SPSS for analyzing the statistics. What do you use?

  5. Hey TJ! How are you? Busy as always! This is a really interesting and cool post. I would like to know more about sociology so thanks for sharing. I also like the humor of the frames.
    Big Hug!

  6. Oh, i've heard of SPSS software before. It's a big plus to learn this kind of softwares during thesis process.

    We are using ROOT analysis framework which is developed by Cern buddies and open source. But it's for numerical analysis of course.

    I also found out that physics has some applications on computational sociology.

  7. Here it's link

  8. @ Encaracolada: Ciao girl!! Thanks so much ^_^!! I had to use the doodles, otherwise the post would be quite...boring hehe! Haha yes still busy! I wonder when it will be a bit more calm again! Is there something specific you would like to know about Sociology? Take care *hugs*

    @ Kuday: Heey! yes. You're right, it is indeed interesting to see how the software works and it makes analyzing a lot easier. ROOT sounds familiar, but I never had classes or more information about it. SPSS is the standard tool we use at my university. I checked out your link! It's very interesting to read how theories can be backed up with statistical analyzes. And something as difficult as social science can be formalized with graphs and data. Thanks for sharing ^_^!! Take care!

  9. I‘d like to invite you to visit my fashion blog:

    Thank you :). KISSES FROM SPAIN

    •••HAVE A NICE WEEK•••


    Hello Friend, I love love love your blog, it‘s very interesting!!! I really like your style!! i‘ll visit you many times for sure honey.


  11. lol..I know the feeling... I'm so glad I dont "study" anymore...

    thanks for stopping by, you loyal fan you! I'll update the rest shortly! ;)

  12. @ Bubu: Hey there! Thank you! I had a peek on your blog. Lots of nice pictures. Keep it up! A tip from is: Leave sincere comments on other blogs. So that other bloggers know you really read a post or posts and that you do like it. If you want people to visit your blog, the key is to have patience and be honest. You see, I did notice you left the exact same messages at lots of other blogs ^_^. I'm not trying to bring you down, it's just some advice. Take care! Ciao!

    @ Abz: You lucky dude! Man! I gonna be so happy when this all is over! I used that statistics program head is spinning -_-'...already...*sigh*

    Hahah loyal fan! You're very welcome ^_^! Your illustrations are so cool, I just have to check them out!

  13. Wow Tj. You are awesome. Very informative post on what you've been up to in school. I've never gotten that far in regards to doing a thesis but I can imagine it takes a lot of thought and research. Awesome to know you can fit in some drawing time between your busy schedule. By the way really love the drawings. They went perfectly with your post even the one where it looks like your flipping off the PC. lol

  14. Well I was all excited and then I read the comments!

    You mentioned SPSS and I had immediate flashbacks to my University days, when I studying Ecology and had to do the Quantitative and Qualitative methods in Biology module, that was horrific. I blame SPSS for never finishing my degree in Ecology. Well that and other stuff if I am totally honest lol.

    Anyhoo back to the rest of the post, I found it exceptionally interesting! I have done some reading on equality for the elderly, but that is mainly to do with access to Mental Health service and not back into the work force. What is the retirement age over there? Is it about that or more about the employ ability of those over say 50?

    Love the Kinghts and Knaves comparison, this quote popped into my head:

    "Honest men are the soft easy cushions on which knaves Repose and fatten.
    Author: Thomas Otway"

    I am sure I think in 'quotes' lately. Probably because someone has already said whatever you want to say, in a much more eloquent way.

    Hmm what else did I want to say?
    Ah yes, looking forward to the why you didn't chose art post and I would also like to know what your future career plans are?

    Good Luck with the thesis and please keep me updated on the progress!

    ps: I would have bubu to piss off :)

    pps: This is the longest comment I have ever wrote!

  15. TJ,
    Thanks for sharing. It's great to learn more about what you're doing.

    And yes, keeping up the motivation year after year is tough. But you can do it. The last part is always the hardest!


  16. LM participation sounds interesting. How the older gen can be engaged in labour n will they be allowed by the younger gen, what do u think? Am i asking something new or hav i rephrased what u were asking....lolzz

    There r times when we seem to lose interest n it becomes quite burdensome but its all a part of the game. I can understand ur situation coz i had encountered a similar experience when i was writing my dissertation which is a mini thesis.

    All the best for ur thesis n am sure u will do a great job. Now i should stop else my comment may exceed the length of ur post....lolzz

  17. @ Pablo: Heey Pablo! Aww thanks so much haha. Glad you liked the doodles! Yes. I seriously wanted to draw like a ‘thinking pose’, but I didn’t realize it looked like a middle finger! The doodles were drawn very quickly and when I wanted to paint them, I noticed it...I was way too lazy to change it hehehe. Or maybe I just drawn my true feelings...who knows ^_^. I have to draw every day. I can’t function normal without it. And yes my thesis really takes up a lot of my time and I’m using my rare brain cells to create an interesting research. It is the final stage I’m in and I have to finish it! No matter what! I’m too close at the end to stop now. Thanks for strolling by!

    @ Claire:
    Ciao Claire! No way! Your longest comment! I’m honoured that I inspired you to write more than you normally would do!

    Aaah me and SPSS aren’t best buddies and I highly doubt we’ll ever be! It’s also the only part I dread from my thesis -_-‘.

    Oh Ecology sounds really interesting! Even though you didn’t finish it, you still have the knowledge and you can throw it in conversations and be all intellectual if you want or did you locked that away as well hehe ^_^?

    Really cool to hear that you found the post interesting! The retirement age is 65 at the moment. The option to go into early retirement is gone now and the government wants to set the retirement age at 67. It is already very difficult for the elderly (over 50) to get back into the work force, I want to know how high the support is for raising the retirement age to 67. I expect the higher the age, the more one leans towards knightly behavior. At least that is according Le Grand...I wonder what SPSS will tell me...if it cooperates -_-‘.

    I loved the quote you used! And you’re right about the fact that something you want to say is already said by someone else.
    It is all already written by masterminds before us....that reminds me! I have to thank them for that!

    Yes stay tuned about the post, why I didn’t choose a study in Arts and possible future careers. Well it’s not that I can’t work now. I have my degree in HRM and I can work in every company I want and my knowledge of Sociology only expanded my horizon; be a researcher and find out how organizations can survive changes in society or a HRM adviser or a manager…that is if I want to do that. I know already that my heart and passion aren’t located there. So in short, after graduation I will focus on writing and illustrating and I will work part time, until I know what I really want to do. I’m even planning to go abroad for a while.

    Man! Look at the amount I've written! If you want to know more...let me know! I will be keeping you posted of course, but I'm not sure if you read your email hehe ;D. Let me know!

    Ps.: Did you saw the post I did about my room? I can’t recall if I pointed it out to you :|...I did dedicate it to you hehe.

    Ps.2: Too piss off huh! Hahaha I guess I’m still too nice!

    Ps.3: Really thank you for your comment ^_^!!

  18. @ One of the Guys: Hey S ;D! Thanks so much! It is exactly how you described it, staying motivated year after year, that is the difficult part. Thanks for sticking around! Till next time!

    @ Shas: Heey Shas! Thanks so much for stopping by! Haha the way you described it is slightly different. At least I understand that you mean if the younger generation allows the elderly to go back to work? I want to find out to what extent generations support the elderly to stay at work (because the government want to set the retirement age at 67). Hope it is a bit more clear, otherwise I commented to Claire a bit more in detail what I’m working on…otherwise just ask ^_^!
    Even though it’s difficult, I’m hanging in there! Thanks again! Take care!

    @ Everyone: Many many thanks for reading this post and commenting! It really makes it a bit easier to find a little bit of my motivation again and keep on typing. I have the urge to sing Dory’s song from Finding Nemo and instead of singing "Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming"...but I would have to sing "Just keep typing, typing, typing..."


  19. SPSS ahhh i remember it very well....i used to provide IT support for it.

    Hey doodles were great, that's what makes the internationalization and globalization so Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

  20. ik geef toe heb je verhaal niet helemaal gelezen zit met dubbele longonsteking te stikken van het lachen om je tekeningen... ik blijf er zowat in
    tranen over mn wangen en nou ja zal de verdere details maar niet neerzetten...

    groetjes Paula

  21. @ санжог: Hehehehe when you said 'Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious'...were you dancing and singing? I have a feeling you did ^_^. Yeah SPSS...were you friends with it? Thanks for stopping by!!

    @ Kruimel: Hallo Paula! Het is een tijd geleden! Hahahah het geeft niets, dat je het niet heb gelezen! Voor mij zijn de tekeningen, stiekem iets belangrijker hehehe. Aah ik hoop dat je niet te veel pijn heb nu ;D.

    Heel veel beterschap! Doe het rustig aan! Je bent bijna jarig toch? Groetjes!

  22. Ecology was brilliant, I will always love nature like things, but the spss and data side was just not for me. It took away all the joy and even though I would have loved to have done some proper research work, I don't think I could hack that side of it. So I just have to stick to tree hugging and taking pictures instead.

    All options for early retirement are gone?! That is ridiculous! My dad has just turned 50 and he has had awful trouble at work, they cant afford for him to go into early retirement, which he would love, so it looks like he will have to stick there till 65, which he hates.

    He would actually like to work longer, just not at the place he is now, as he has been there since 16 and it is a huge chemical plant! So I think it depends on what job industry people work in, as to how old they want to work till? Well I presume that anyway?

    I love quotes, in therapy you tend to use a lot, those and metaphors. Just a way of trying to show a person that you somewhat understand what they are feeling or talking about, I suppose.

    Think the working part time thing is a great idea! And I may be doing the abroad thing to. I just have to decide about the Art Therapy thing, but it is another 4 years of study and my head my explode.

    I replied to email finally!

    Yes you are too nice.

    and looking at other post now.


    Epic comment.

  23. @ Claire: Wow! An epic comment indeed! I think we need to take a moment and stare in wonder :D!

    I know exactly what you mean when you said that it took away all the joy. That (and a few things else) kept me from doing an Art study when I was younger. But this I shall tell another time! I would love to see a picture of you hugging a tree though ^_^.

    Well options for early retirement aren't entirely gone. You have several options, like the life course savings scheme. Here you save a portion of your salary and this you can use for an early retirement. The uses of this scheme isn't fixed on retirement alone though. You can also use it for studies, sabbatical etc. But we had a specific law to go into early retirement, but they canceled this in January 2006. Reason was that there was this fear that too many people would go into early retirement and that there wouldn't be enough money to support the social welfare.

    And you're right! It certainly depends on the industry you work in and on the individual himself. For example your dad worked since he was 16, but he wouldn't mind to work longer. I read a lot of articles of people who worked in construction and they aren't too pleased that they would have to work till they are 67. Mainly because the work load is much higher and usually you start working at a very young age. This is different for an individual who studied till their twenties and got a job after that.

    I think the government is taking baby steps with this whole 'working longer plan'. There are lots of factors to be taken into consideration. But as far I know, they shift the responsibilities for going into early retirement more towards the civilians. It is your own responsibility to make sure you have enough means to survive in society. Part of individualization I guess.

    Oh! Maybe going abroad too! How cool! You already thought of where you might head? Art therapy sounds really interesting, but yes 4 years of extra studying...your head may explode...but you never know. If you really want to do it, then you can be amazed of the amount of motivation you get!

    I saw your email! Thank you!! Now I'm not so sure if I need to reply back hahaha!
    I will work on my niceness...maybe if I blog for a longer time...;D
    Keep using quotes! Maybe you can start writing aphorisms, just like NP.

    Ciao Xx!

    Ps.: Many thanks for your thoughts! This is seriously an epic comment moment for both of us haha!

  24. Tahira,

    Sorry. I saw you comment something about your dissertation on FriedEggs, and asked you what it was all about. Then I followed you to your blog, and found that you'd already answered it here.

    I'm an idiot.

    (please feel free to let my self-loathing words suffice for an explanation).

  25. @ Bill Friday: Heey there Bill! aww do not worry! You are not an idiot haha. I'm glad you found your way to my blog!! The thesis did change a wee bit after this post, but now a whole new direction is been taken. Not with the thesis, but in my life. I will post it soon on my blog! Take care! *waves*

  26. I was thinking about the same thing today about generational differences in business in particular and how it impacts approach. I was reading about generation G, for generous, which apparently is one demographic that has emerged. For whatever reason I feel strongly that I fall in that category yet most elder business people, and I feel like I may be fitting that category, dont have as bohemian an outlook on how I like to do deals, so as a result I end up feeling hurt and then have to use the analogy of playing a game of chess to make certain that I protect myself. I didn't realize how ruthless businesses can be when doing deals. I believe that Knights & Knaves (although I don't know their work) plus your interest in combining it with your research is interesting whether you actually ever write the thesis or not. Im not big on theses though I love learning

  27. Ciaoo Tony!

    Thanks for strolling through my past!

    You know, during college and my thesis research, I noticed that it was quite difficult to just categorize people. You always had these grey areas, because people could fit in more categories. If I look at myself, I know that I don’t fit in the group where most people from my age fit in. It has a lot to do with my outlook on life and how I want to life it. I tend to walk on a different path and not the standard socially approved path.

    I have a feeling that it applies to you as well (correct me if I'm wrong ^_^). The way you see things and your outlook on life doesn’t fit what others think of ‘elderly business people’.

    The business world is hard indeed! But you can learn from it right and make sure you can preventive so you don't get hurt! The way things are approached in the business world can vary a lot. We all know that what you read in theory books differs in the real world. The real world is never the same. It’s constantly changing and you need to act on this. But in order to have stability, people create general rules, strategies and definitions and use this as a standard in society and this is what makes it difficult for people like us.

    Inglehart's theory is very interesting and definitely a book I would read even if I didn't had to do a thesis. Knights & Pawns are words describe certain behavior in people. Pawns are true followers. They do everything the law says. Knights do everything from an altruistic point of view and in the best interest of the people. Knaves only do things with their personal gain in mind and can be considered egoistic. As you can see, no one can be a pure knight, knave or pawn. But Inglehart says that one of these 3 is more prominent in an individual and this is due to other elements like how you were raised. The research was quite complex haha. Luckily I don’t have to do one as I quit my studies last year. I'm very curious and love to gain knowledge just for fun.

    Whoops! I've rambled again! I shall stop now haha. Thanks so much for your comment :D

  28. Hello Sahara -

    Very interesting post you have TJ. It sounds like you have had your hands full with your studies in your young life. It also sounds like you're getting a little tired of school and ready to move out of the classroom and into a work routine.

    You mentioned, "The main thoughts of my thesis is: how motivations could have changed over time and how civilians will support labor market participation of elderly and also why they wouldn't support this."

    This subject matter is very broad and can take novels of research reflection & exploration. However, you most likely have a limit on how much date and analyzing you can do for your thesis paper.

    My suggestion is to avoid tangents because one question will lead to 10 more to answer. Try your best to keep it simple and one directional. Focus down one path and stay there no matter what course your mind want to stray. You will get it done right. :)

  29. Ciao Charlie!!

    Thanks for commenting! When I wrote this post, I was still in the process of narrowing it down. Yes, I tried to keep it simple, but my coaches made this quite difficult haha. I tend to write more plain and simple, but for a university paper, they did requested a more 'professional' tone. Which I disliked. I eventually did narrow it down, but my motivation hit rock bottom after this phase. I did my best to get motivated again, but nothing worked. Around the same time I did more and more with my illustration work, so I questioned for quite some time whether I should continue my thesis. I think it took me 6 months before I made the final decision. Lots of factors played a part, but in the end I couldn't deny my true nature. So I quit my studies and it's been the best decision I've made in my life ^_^.

  30. Hi Sahara -

    Many people would post an argument that you made the wrong decision. There are no wrong decisions, only right decisions, when you follow your heart passion - illustrating. I have to admit I find school a blast, but the studies boring. Go try and figure that out, hahaha. You're where you are today because that's where you need to be - for now! Tomorrow is another day to fly in a new direction, or the same direction. Regardless, soar with your heart and you always win big time. :)

  31. You couldn't have said it better. A decision is a decision. It's one you have to make due to the circumstances you're in. So because of this, it's the right decision every time you have to make one.

    I did like going to college, listening to the teachers. I just got bored by doing the assignments. I didn't saw the real value in them. So I always questioned it.

    Tomorrow is another day indeed and for now I'm happy with who I am and where I am. That's all that matters :D

    I shall soar!! Thanks so much for you lovely comments!


Yay! Thanks so much for leaving a message. I always reply, so do check back okay? Ciao!