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

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The dead, the dying and youth

Have you ever seen a flower arrangement that weaves together deadwood with bright and colorful summer explosions?  They tell us of that which reflects modernity:  The dead are forgotten in the background; the sick and dying are mere echoes fading quickly into a distant past; and it is only the vigorous who dominate and forcefully remain in the forefront.

How a society coordinates the interaction between the triad of life’s complex ingredients reveals the extent of its inner soul and character.  For, how many of us truly want to live in a pure State of Nature, where only the brute strength of predatory behavior would rule?  How many of us would survive in such a dystopian world, and for how long?

How we treat the remains, vestiges and memories of those gone; what we do with the ones still alive but deteriorating, suffering and lonely in their abandoned abodes; and whatever is left for the youth, what value of transference is imparted from the traditions longstanding, the obligations imparted, and the core values embraced – these determine the viability of a society in turmoil.

For, the dead reveal in constancy as to who we are by giving us a past; the dying, what we are made of by the example of how we treat the least of our community; and the value of youth is inherent in the lineage existent for the future continuation of a viable and vibrant tradition; and it is always the interrelationships between the tripartite worlds that determine whether and how.

We tend to want to compartmentalize, then to isolate each into their individual components such that one never interrelates with another.  But reality often will force a society to reflect upon such an artificial manner of conceptual isolationism, and sometimes it is by mere change of perspective that can lead to a paradigm shift of sorts.

Thus does this happen when we see a flower arrangement that artfully weaves the deadwood of winter with the vibrant colors of spring, and allow for even the panorama of fall leaves to still reveal beauty and breathtaking insights, and allow for the youth of summer blossoms to radiate, while at the same time giving deference to the others in the haiku of life.  It is often through a metaphor like this on a macro-scale that we can then glean a reflective outlook upon the microcosm of our own lives.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who sees him or herself as “less than worthy” – somewhat like the dying twigs in a flower arrangement otherwise filled with vibrancy and youth – all because a medical condition is becoming chronic and debilitating, one needs only look upon a flower arrangement that encompasses the triad of life’s natural flow.

Perhaps the agency is like those exploding blossoms of summer; and, more likely, the Federal Agency and the Postal Service will relegate the deadwood into the trash heap of corner offices and ignore those who are less productive.  But that is not a reflection upon the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition and can no longer perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position; rather, that is an indictment upon the Federal Agency and the Postal Service itself.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is merely another way to maintain the constancy of society’s unstated promise – much like the flower arrangement that intersperses the dead, the dying and youth – by asserting that legal rights still matter, and a medical condition does not necessarily mean that one’s career is just more deadwood at the back of the arrangement, but can still reveal a promising future for greater productivity in the private sector of life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: No time for empathy

Perhaps its disappearance and rarer occurrences are not because of defection of angels and loss of virtue from the circumference of human character, but for a much simpler reason:  We have no time for it, nor patience, nor capacity to embrace.  Often, the intersection between the reality of our social constructs and the loss of moral foundations mixes and makes obscure the ability to assign blame and causal connection to one or the other, but it is the cumulative and inseparable combination that results in the dire consequences we witness.

This technologically sophisticated world has no time for empathy.  All of that incessant talk about “connecting” and the importance of remaining constantly online, in-tune and involved in the virtual universe of Facebook, Snapchat, Tweets, text messaging, cellphone and other such modalities of electronic connectivity, the reality is that – from a purely objective perspective – each of the methodologies of communication are comprised of an illuminated screen with written words without warmth, human feeling nor organic nerve endings.

We communicate by means of those androids we created, expecting that exponential quantification of mechanical complexities can somehow qualitatively enhance our humanity, when in fact each such invention insidiously depletes and deteriorates.

Once, we scoffed at Chiefs and other indigenous characters who believed that the mystical capturing of one’s image by cameras and Daguerreotypes robbed and confined one’s soul, and now we make fun of those who believe that human contact is lessened by the tools of mechanized warfare; and so we decimated all tribes and their leaders, and leave behind in history books lost in the dusty shelves of an unread past the images robbed and lessened, and arrogantly giggle at those who complain of modernity and the technology of communication.

Empathy takes time.  We have no time left.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal Worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, if waiting upon one’s agency to reveal and manifest some semblance of human empathy has been a patient discourse of frustration, you will not be the only one to experience such disappointment.

The fact is, empathy is a rare commodity, and showing its face of value is a search of futility more and more each day because of its scarcity.

Waiting for the Federal Agency or Postal Facility to accommodate your medical conditions?  Empathy is required, and nonexistent.  Expecting helpful information and cooperation from your Human Resource Office without fear of leaking sensitive information to coworkers and supervisors?  Empathy is necessitated, but clearly lacking.  There is no time for empathy, and it is better to begin the process of preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application without relying upon that which cannot be found even in the far corners of humanoid tablets we sit and stare at each day.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Life’s Alliteration

The repetitive recurrence of mirroring sounds or letters at the beginning of adjacent words is merely a reflection of how we live our lives.  What is inherent in human beings that we would discover, create or otherwise compile an aggregation of such a linguistic phenomena?

The universe could have continued happily on its mindless course of fated determinism without people engaging in such nonsensical rhythms of prose and poetry; but as each act of indeterminate vacuity has an underlying psychological explanation, so all such engagements of sociological developments must by necessity possess a paradigm of purpose.

Is it because we find solace in the quietude of repose when patterns of universal expectations can be discovered?  Why do we eternally seek the “laws of nature”, or insist against Hume’s diatribe of causal effects that the billiard balls will act in certain ways upon impact despite the lack of a “necessary connection”?  Is it in the comfort of habitual living, of familiar environments and known paradigms into which we seek refuge?

We take delight in the designs which quiet our souls; of lack of turbulence, despite our own havoc which we inject all around.  Small towns; lost civilizations; tribal communities in the forgotten corners of the world; perhaps they still exist without the turmoil pervasive throughout the life the rest of us are familiar with; but if they do, they will soon be stamped out.  For, in the end, distinctive differences are characteristics which we fear most.

We claim that we celebrate diversity; yet, look at how everyone melds into each other and uniqueness is slowing disappearing.  We declare that divergence of ideas and opinions are contributory to a community; but we end up all watching the same shows, hearing the identical voices, and where even political parties are essentially the same but for shifting bribes to garner votes.

That is why the linguistic mechanism of alliteration is but a reflection of life itself; it is no accident that the repetition of consonants, vowels or sounds was playfully discovered; it is, instead, the comfort zone of which we seek, in order to reassure ourselves that the chaotic world we continue to fathom will at least appear in a semblance of repetititve constancy in the words we utter.

Order and stability are necessary traits in every life; that is why, for the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker whose life has been turned upside down with the turmoil of a medical condition, it is important to begin contemplating the long and arduous path towards attaining a Federal Disability Retirement annuity.

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, the turmoil of the medical condition, the sudden and proverbial “cold shoulder” shown by the agency because the Federal or Postal employee is no longer fully “productive” or able to advance the “mission of the Agency”, it is important to secure a semblance of stability for one’s future.  Whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the Federal or Postal employee who must prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits will have to maneuver through a complex maze of alliterative conundrums.

And what of life’s alliteration?  You will note that this blog never engaged in such nonsense throughout.  Of course, that could change exponentially, excepting exceeding expectations exchanging entities encompassing elements eerily entraping epilogues entirely endlessly.  Or so it goes.

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

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Narrative for the Ages

The Age of Modernity is too cynical to believe; or, at the very least, too arrogant not to disbelieve.  It was once thought that information is all that is necessary to propel humankind into a state of sophistication, but time has revealed that Orwell’s reverse effect merely compels us to rely upon devices more and more, and that neither knowledge nor greater wisdom is gained by the wide dissemination of data and content.

We want a “cause” to believe in; yet, each day, we encounter those who allegedly toiled throughout their lives for just such a motivating core, only to find a shell of a person, neither interesting nor interested, and grubbing for amassing of life’s toys, like everyone else in the neighborhood.  Is it, in the end, true that the one who “wins” is defined by the last person standing with the toy and a smile?  We seek for the narrative which fits, and one which declares truth for all ages; but whether we would even be able to recognize “the One” if we passed by it, is doubtful.  This is a time for reflection and re-dedication to one’s core belief-system, despite the world’s agony bereft of such a centrality of intuition.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers who must contemplate changes in the coming year because of a medical condition which is impacting the Federal or Postal worker’s ability and capacity to remain in the Federal or Postal position, the narrow focus of formulating one’s statement of narrative on SF 3112A is an important microcosm of effective conveyance.  The questions asked on SF 3112A are simple enough; but the narrative which the Federal or Postal employee must prepare, formulate and submit, will determine the future course and causal impact in getting an approval of an OPM Disability Retirement application.

Prepare it carefully; formulate it thoughtfully; submit it only with wise counsel and guidance, wherever and whatever the source.  Yes, perhaps one’s narrative on SF 3112A is not as “grand” or “timeless” as the narrative for the ages of which we seek; but for the individual life of the Federal or Postal employee who is searching for answers for an uncertain future yet to dawn because of a medical condition, the significance and importance may be just as great.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire