Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The negative of a photograph

In this digital age, the disappearance of the negative in photography is quite appropriate; for, this is an age that has attempted to expunge everything negative, both in form and in substance.  That thin strip of plastic film that was always retained, and carefully coupled with the “positive” prints, was preserved with the idea that the more valued sets of prints may become lost, distributed or otherwise disseminated, and in that event, so long as the negative of the original was retained, more could be printed out.

Just before the digital age, there were “do-it-yourself” machines – monstrosities that received the film, processed them and spit out two-prints each; or is that just the faulty memory of this writer? The double-prints were meant to allow for giving of one and keeping the other, just in case grandma or grandpa wanted one of those cute pictures where everyone simultaneous said the universal word: “Cheese!”

Yet, the concept of the negative still retains some fascination, despite its obsolescence in the modernity of the digital age; for, it is the reverse order of reality, where the lightness of images retains the darkness of reflection, and vice versa, because of the chemical sensitivity in processing the film.

And who among us recalls the ghoulish search when we actually did want to get another print made – of searching through various negatives, seeing the hollow images of figures staring back, trying to discern whether multiple negatives that appeared similar but not quite the same could be the one, by matching the angle of the face, the tilt of the head, or some mysterious figure in the background not shown in the original?

Have we all had that experience – where there is something that appears in the negative but not in the print, and attribute it to the ghostly mysteries that somehow and by mistake captured the supernatural world otherwise banished from this day and age?

The romantic world of the unknown has now vanished, along with the negative of a photograph; now, we are left with the virtual reality of a mundane universe, with nothing left for our imaginations.  For, the negative of a photograph is the mystery itself that always spurred us onward and upward, trying always to achieve the next level of accomplishment.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the concept of the negative of a photograph should be quite familiar; for, once upon a time, that image beheld on that strip of plastic was the “real” you, preserved and retained for posterity as the valuable essence of a being otherwise forgotten.

Federal agencies and Postal facilities only care about the print that stays forever in the same pose and manner, unchangeable and forever identical.  The mere fact that a medical condition has “changed” a Federal or Postal employee is somehow rejected by the Federal agency and U.S. Postal Service, and that is why filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes so important.

For, just like the negative of a photograph, it is the medical condition in its negative aspects that always seems to be the sole focus of the Federal or Postal facility in determining the worth of an individual.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: And then we die

(It is the parenthetical previous statement that ultimately matters, left blank to be completed, and never to be presumed).  Actions of finality, or seemingly so, tend to create an aura of despair and angst.  Once, in a world where purpose was never questioned, and the teleological end of man never brought forth the hint of doubt, the cohesiveness of society’s resolve was never a pause.  It is the modernity of hesitation, trepidation and loss of judgment that brings us to the pit of incessant questioning, as opposed to “doing”.  This is a maddening world, where the rise of Existentialism and post-modern impotence leaves us to seek therapy at every turn.

What we do in our lives before that terminal event; what dreams we once possessed before the souring of cynicism overwhelmed us; and of those lazy summer nights when the dancing illumination of fireflies dotted the canvas of a blackened void, when thoughts would drift beyond the mere mediocrities of present lives, current circumstances and seemingly unassailable realities which constrained, restricted and limited the dreams shattered by the reality of our travails; it was then that a glimmer of hope, an expectation of possibility, and a hint of potentiality yet unrealized, would creep into the essence of our souls.

Fairytales matter, because youth cannot survive another day without some fantasy of hope; and doors left unopened and locked with the resolve of “forever” will only diminish and destroy, where the need for tomorrow yet shouts in a rashness of desire.  To shut the pathway to dreams or to construct obstacles for the mere sake of obstruction is to strangle that parenthetical gleam of light yet unextinguished and to betray the angels who look down upon us with the remnants of wings to be unfurled, in hopes of fluttering to pass by with a smile.

Perhaps, one day, there will still be such follies to believe in.  For now, there is only the toil of daily grind, and thus are we left with the question implicit in the statement:  And then we die.

In Muriel Barbery’s work, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, a youthful life of advantage but of seeming meaninglessness is traded with an older woman’s upward trajectory once lost in the anonymity of class distinctions, and the theme throughout encompasses the essence of a life’s worth.  We all want to embrace meaning and value in the life which has been given; have we fulfilled our potential?  Did the dreams we once possessed, handed to us like jewels on a plate of limitless infinity, become realized, or was it a wasted phantasm like a handful of sand squeezed and escaping through the crevices of our closed fists?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the questions garnered by thoughts of future insecurity are natural and plentiful.  It is, in many ways, similar to the refrain repeated herein:  And then we die.

Once a Federal Disability Retirement application is approved, and the Federal or Postal employee is separated from the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, one wonders:  Was my work of any lasting value?  Did I leave an imprint upon the shifting sands of a prior existence?  Did I make a difference?

But those questions should be cast aside and left behind, and instead, it is still the future of one’s unfinished work that should always be focused upon, and preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is to continue the narrative in working upon that familiar refrain, that the future still promises a fulfillment of unfinished potentiality, and the unmarked grave need not be one which is unvisited even in the twilight of our lives.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The Complexity to Defeat

Simplicity of former times is what we all seek; in the end, it is never as “good” as we all like to make-believe it was, and never as “bad” as we may feel at the moment.  But within a world which sees technology advancing not in incremental, thoughtful stages of periodic progress, but in exponential warp-speed unseen in the epochal movements of past generations, it is difficult to keep pace with the dizzying speed of innovation.  And that’s just in trying to choose a lightbulb at the local grocery store.

For must of us, the complexity which confronts and challenges are those within.  The viewpoints we bring; the skewed thought-processes from the baggages of childhood; and the enmity we harbor in secret compartments of resentment and shame.  Further, what exacerbates and complicates, is a medical condition, whether physical or psychiatric, and too often an intersection of both feeding one upon another.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s livelihood, the ability to even go into work, and prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the complexity to defeat is the very same one that haunts and hinders from the residues of self-doubt:  making wrong choices when the right ones will save.  Hesitation; fear; anxiety and angst from not seeing clearly an unknown future; these will all continue to magnify beyond the panic of sleepless nights.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective OPM Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is never an “easy” engagement; in fact, it is merely one more complexity of life.  But the bureaucracy will always be there; the procedures, methodologies and sheer volume of substantive and procedural hurdles will always remain like an obstacle unmovable likened to Aristotle’s proverbial Unmoved Mover.

In the end, taking that significant step in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will be determined not by fate or misfortune, but in recognizing that the complexity to defeat remains hidden within our very souls, to be identified, tackled and wrestled with, in order to move on with our lives.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: In troves of battered grey

It is the crisis point of one’s life, and the interruption of plans, which seems to define the value of the narrative.  We tend to judge by leaps of negation; in a hurry to determine worth, we skim the beginning chapters, then rush through the middle, and read with intensive interest the last few pages and conclude the life of a character based not upon the lengthy experiences of amoral devices, but by the standards of terminal avalanches.

A short story is merely a slice of life; a novel, a jagged graph of extrapolated instances cumulatively garnered to present a coherent and systematized itinerary.  But real life is different.  Each entity is a uniqueness in and of itself; never a mere compilation of facts, nor a composite of irrational emotions; it is, instead, a story unto itself.  Like troves of battered grey, we try and open the chest of drawers and determine in an instant before we close the chapter.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact — and define — one’s worth to the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, it is well to remember not to judge too harshly.  One’s worth should not be defined by any arbitrary point on a linear graph of time, nor determined by those who look disinterestedly beyond yesterday’s contribution to the “mission” of the agency.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who can no longer perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, and who need to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, should never see the entrance into the steps of administrative and bureaucratic malaise as an “end” to the chapter of one’s life, but rather, still the ongoing narrative which requires further telling and editing.

When one is in the midst of turmoil, it is often difficult to see beyond; but like the troves of battered grey we encounter on a foggy night in rain-drenched clothes, we must remember that there is always the warmth of tomorrow, and sunshine of days to come yet to recall the moments of slumber when once a crisis tried to define a lifetime.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire