FERS Disability Retirement: Refutation of Stefan Zweig’s Essay

FERS OPM Medical Retirement: Refutation of Stefan Zweig’s Essay, “Books are the Gateway to the World”.

Not quite a refutation, but merely a protest — and perhaps a defense of illiteracy.  Zweig writes beautifully; persuasively; in colorful prose that captivates; in convincing form — if not in logical argumentation, but more as a poet who is convinced that words, books, literacy and the spread of the written word is indispensable to life itself.

He ends with this poetic flourish: “The more intimately the man associates with books the more profoundly he experiences the unity of life, for his personality is multiplied; he sees not only with his own eyes but with the countless eyes of the soul, and by their sublime help he travels with loving sympathy through the whole world.”

Who can argue with that?  Who can so poetically refute and rebut a sentence of such insightful beauty?  Yet, it is not with the argument for books and literacy that is objectionable, but rather, the notion that the man with whom he met and befriended but who is later found to be illiterate — that this rampage of sorrow and defense of literacy is at the expense of this unfortunate man.

Consider how he describes such a person: “He is walled in by himself, because he knows nothing of books; his life is dull, troglodytic (Definition: a “member of any of various peoples (as in antiquity) who lived or were reputed to live chiefly in caves” — i.e., “cavemen” or “cavewomen”).  And: “I was shocked to think how narrow the world must seem to the man who has no books.”

True, Zweig may have felt pity for his new-found friend, whom he previously described as a person who possessed a “genius for mimicry and caricatured everybody”, and whom he found fascinating and of enjoyable company — until, it turns out, that he discovered his illiteracy.

The essay ends without a conclusion; perhaps he took the time (without writing about it) with the friend and taught him how to read.  More likely, they went their separate ways — the other fellow pitied for the remainder of Zweig’s days, the author convinced that he was an individual to be pitied.  But that is the criticism to be posited, isn’t it?  That we make judgments without judging ourselves, and unjustifiably when we have the power to do something about the ills we encounter.

For Federal and Postal employees who have encountered that very circumstance — of facing judgments by others while nothing is being done — of a Federal Agency or the Postal Service that has determined that you are not worth “saving” because of a medical condition that now prevents you from performing one or more of the essential elements of your Federal or Postal job; it is then time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS.

Don’t wait around for help from your Agency or the Postal Service; it is likely that you will not receive it.  Instead, consult with a FERS Disability Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.  For, in the end, the decision to take the next step to “help yourself” will be up to you, and you should not consider the Federal Agency or the Postal Service to help you as your “friend” — leaving aside whether they will even feel a scintilla of pity for you; they won’t.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Preparing the case

For some reason, Federal and Postal workers who “prepare” and submit a Federal Disability Retirement application, do so without much thought as to what is entailed by the entire process.

They will often rely upon what the “Human Resource Office” tells them — of forms to fill out, what form to give to the doctor, the form to give to the supervisor, etc., and will spend more time trying to figure out the confusing life insurance form than in preparing the Applicant’s Statement of Disability (SF 3112A) or the legal precedents that govern Federal Disability Retirement Law — and then, when it gets denied at the Initial Stage of the process and the Federal or Postal Disability Retirement applicant goes back to the H.R. “Specialist” and asks, “Well, what do I do now?”, the response is: “That is not our problem; that’s a problem you have to deal with.”

Accountability is not known to be a commonly recognized characteristic in a Human Resource Office, and while there are never any guarantees in life, in any sector or endeavor, at a minimum, when one is being “assisted” and guided through an administrative process, it is important to know whether or not whoever you are relying upon will see you through to the end.

Why the Federal or Postal employee who begins the process of preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application does so without the same care, scrutiny and comprehensive approach as one does in “other” legal cases, is a puzzle.

Federal Disability Retirement — whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset — is as complex a case as any other, and should be approached with the same intensity, technical application and expertise as a patent and trademark case, or a complicated medical malpractice filing.  For, a Federal Disability Retirement case involves every aspect of any other type of complex litigation — of the proper medical evidence to gather; of meeting the established legal standard in order to meet the burden of proof; of citing the relevant legal precedents in order to persuade the reviewer at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; and presenting a compelling description to a “jury” at OPM that one has met the nexus between “having a medical condition” and the inconsistency inherent with the positional duties required, etc.

In the end, preparing the case for submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application involves greater complexity than what the layman can normally account for, and as the fine print in those television commercials state involving sporty vehicles maneuvering at high speeds, you may not want to try this on your own.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Indicia by quantitative output

Should worth be determined by quota of quantitative output, or is the slow and steady progress of quality and craftsmanship still valued in this world of imported trinkets and trash bins of brevity?  There are reports of a major bankruptcy filing resulting in the inevitable liquidation of a foreign shipping company, and the rumors preceding have already forced stockpiling of goods for the upcoming holiday shopping expectations.

The interconnecting tentacles of international trade foregoes any differentiation these days, between “domestic” or “foreign” companies, and the deep reverberations and repercussions of shortages felt reveals and unravels of a society addicted to the notion of accumulation, no matter what or where the source.  We can no longer travel to destinations of quiet reserve, because everyone does so – with Smartphones and photographs instantly posted, and of the meditative monastery no longer devout with quietude of prayer, but filled with flashbulbs of visceral interruptions.  And of the unique product made with time and care?  Of hand-held tools and the carpenter’s reflective repose?

Quotas define modernity; it is the quantitative output that prevails in a factory-like universe where the individual stitching has no mark of uniqueness or character of identification.  Perhaps Marx had at least the principle of labor’s loss of meaning right; when the product loses the manifold entailment of the soul which guides the hands, then the character of creation is destroyed and the essence of the mold becomes subsumed beneath the greed of desire.

It is the celebrity-status and stature of glimmer and glamour which poses to characterize the indicia of success; and the goal of that flashpoint of destination’s pinnacle of “arriving” is determined by the indicia of quantitative output.  How else to explain the constant boast that Americans work longer hours, have less vacations, spend fewer time with family and friends – but to show the rest of the world who sit idly by with envy and despair, that the price to pay in order to attain the grand scheme of such blissful existence is to undermine the family structure, to desecrate the common hold of a community, and to destroy the very fabric of society’s worth?  We pay a price, all right, and that cost transacted is the self-destruction of the essence of humanity.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition no longer allows the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal employee’s positional duties, the pressure to keep up with the quantitative output comes to a flashpoint where health intersects with productivity, and the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service takes such data into account in deciding the worth of your life.

The indicia of quantitative output are the means by which the determining end is calculated.  At that critical juncture, the Federal or Postal employee must make a Solomon’s decision:  Health, or the job.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have come to that point of decision-making, preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, becomes not just a necessity, but a call to action.  For, in the end, the indicia of quantitative output is someone else’s measure of worth – and that “someone else” is certainly not taking into account the value of one’s health in a society self-destructive in its juggernaut of purposeless regression.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire