FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Paradigms abandoned

Of course, the most significant discussion concerning the shifting of major paradigms in the intellectual sphere of human advancement, occurs in Thomas Kuhn’s work, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.  The concept of a “paradigm” shift, of adhering to a hypothetical model despite evidentiary incommensurability with the reality of an impervious and objective world; of a theocratic insistence upon a geocentric explanation despite factual calculations pertaining to a heliocentric reality; of bloodletting in medicine based upon the foundational paradigm of the bodily balance of humors; and, in personal lives, of how things “ought to be” as opposed to what actually are.

The farther an issue is removed from a direct impact upon one’s life, the easier it is to discuss it and arrive at conclusions based upon a rational discourse of commensurability.  Life lived as art is far more convenient than when the dreariness of engaging in the proverbial “reality check” must be faced in the mirror of one’s life.  Rarely does one apply a “scientific” approach when evaluating and assessing the reflection in a mirror; that is always left to the laboratory phase of one’s bifurcated life of compartmentalized delusions.  Yet, paradigms are precisely how we live; we just may not call it that, nor the foundation of our own actions in that manner.

Do we proceed based upon the expectations of others?  That, then, is a paradigm of objectified influences upon our motivational structure.  Are decisions primarily based upon an instinctive reservoir of emotional turmoil?  Consider, then, the paradigm of that lesser construct of our soul as identified by Plato in delineating the greater whole by comparative analysis between the state of one’s inner workings and that of the state itself.  In the end, the most telling factor in determining the essence of any human being, is not necessarily by the paradigms by which one adheres, but in the very ones which have been abandoned.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suddenly find that a medical condition will likely cut short a promising and lengthy career, the abandonment of a paradigm must by necessity become an integral part of the process.  For, the attachment to the conventional perspective cannot be underestimated; the belief that career should override all other concerns, including one’s own health; that future retirement is to be dictated by an imagined age of demarcation where competence and inertia rules by physical necessity; or, that the “mission of the agency” is the priority at all costs, including one’s own health and well-being.

Whatever the paradigm upon which the basis of motivational irrationality subsists, the facing of reality will clash when the progressive deterioration resulting from an unexpected and chronic medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from continuing any longer.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, becomes an inevitability when the proportionality between reality and the conceptual construct of a paradigm insisted upon becomes incommensurate; but, then, Kuhn had already warned us of that eventuality, as well as the fact that a paradigm abandoned is tantamount to a revolution conceived; we just kept believing that the tectonic shift was meant for the “other guy“, and never for ourselves.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Government Employee Medical Retirement: The missing comma

To what extent does language influence life?  As a mode of communication, sounds and utterances can certainly be restricted to a minimum, without threatening survivability; and in the history of our vast universe of words, thoughts and conceptual constructs embedded in dusty warehouses of discarded books, manuscripts and love letters tucked away in drawers once meant to safely keep where memorabilia of treasures remain unrevealed, does the competence of applying grammatical rules matter, anymore?

Do the dominos of historical reverberation fall in fated inevitability — like the missing comma which resulted in a lesser grade for the boy who would be king, but because of the diminished mark, failed to meet the expectations of a royal family who favored the second child, anyway, and beheaded the law of primogeniture; and thus did inevitability fade, history alter, and the child-king who would not be turned to savagery and the took revenge upon the world by becoming a little-known mass-murderer but to those whom he slaughtered.

Can the course of history be altered by the lack of placement of such a curved indentation of fate?  Where, just a fraction of a distance above, it is but an apostrophe which betrays the possessive embrace of a noun standing beside, but for the careless droppings which turn it into a comma?  Sometimes, of course, the misplaced comma can change the entire context and meaning of a sentence, and then the question becomes, do such misinterpretations have any force of impact, anymore, to the extent of interceding in the life of an individual?

Language is a peculiar invention; among other species, we recognize sounds, murmurings and signals to communicate; but to constitute the higher level of combining thought with words spoken and concepts written, requires an advancement of evolutionary uniqueness not discovered by fellow beings of other natures.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must communicate and convince because of a medical condition, where the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties, trying to maneuver through the administrative chaos of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management with an effective Federal Disability Retirement application — as ensconced in SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability — is the highest of tests in the usage of language as a tool of persuasive activity.

It may not seem so, as any encounter with a bureaucratic maze will often appear to be merely an arduous chore of necessity; but, in fact, engaging a behemoth and arguing it from its slumber of overwhelmed caseload is a reflection of man’s penultimate destiny of a chance meeting between grammar and life undeservedly faced:  Of whether the missing comma is of relevance, anymore, in this age where the possessive pronoun no longer matters when a computer can delete the words left unsent.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Medical Disability from Federal Government Employment: That departed innocence of yonder years

Whether we have become meaner as a whole, or that people have always been so and we just never knew it, we shall never know.  How does one contrast the incomparable?  What algorithm would be applied, which quantitative analysis, and how would a qualitative methodology of content-purity be administered?  Parity of differentiation would destroy any meaningful application; for, the generational divide would question the relevance of any prior criteria applied, and the subjectivity of inherent bias as to the meaning of innately elastic words would undermine the entire format.

Is there a natural yearning for a bygone age — of romanticizing a time never quite existing, somewhat skewed, and forever filtered through the antiseptic memory edited by time, desire and the psychology of protective devotion?  Do we selectively choose, whether unconsciously or with deliberative acuity, that which we want to preserve, like those museums housing reconstructed prehistoric beasts from mere fragments developed into an imaginative construct of creative fantasies?  Yet, there are clearly narratives which have annotated a different mentality, a structure of a departed innocence portraying a pastoral purity forever vanquished by modernity of vacuity.

Mark Twain’s works surely provide evidence of it; although, one has to read his works of later years to recognize that even he succumbed to the cynicism of life’s undesired experiences.  Look at the ending in Pudd’nhead Wilson; do any of the characters emerge victorious from the circumstances ascribed, or does the wheel of misfortune simply accept the inevitability of a world ensconced in the satire of fate as administered by gods who play with eternity and circumstances, like malevolent children with insects and matches?

Then, of course, there is Carl Sandburg’s depiction in, The Prairie Years —  but does that not prove the point?  Was it not merely a retrospective outlook of a selectively chosen era, characterized by age and want of holding on to yonder years forever lost and transcribed merely by an age of innocence never in existence but by device of mythologization (despite the ugliness of such a term)?  Yet, whether of reality or of tricking one’s self by some repressed psychological device, the human need to retain and preserve that departed innocence of yonder years, is a reality which is part and parcel of the complexity inherent in the phenomenology of sanity.

This is important to consider, especially for the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who feels a sense of hopelessness and despondency, given the current situation of contending with a medical condition and where decisions concerning one’s future must be made.  For, when a medical condition begins to intervene, and the Federal or Postal employee must consider the probability of 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, the “surface” issues that must be contended with — of the unpleasantness of the circumstances themselves; the hostility of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service; the medical inability and incapacity resulting from the illness or injury; all of these are mere “appearances” which conceal a more substantive undercurrent of “reality” imposed.

For, like the yearning for that departed innocence of yonder years, the truth of the matter is that all human beings seek for, and desire, a sign of kindness — that simple act that costs nothing, but encompasses an untold value of meaningful touch which feels for a brief moment the brush of an angel’s garment as it shuffles silently by, leaving the warmth and floral scent of a life worth living.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Medical Retirement: Artistic precision and the caravan of words

The two words in the initial linguistic compound are rarely combined; for, as the former denotes a free-wheeling flow of undisciplined handiwork, it resists against the latter for its constraining methodology of instrumental pragmatism.  Thus, an “artist” by definition belies the very definition of precision, and “precision” connotes too rational an approach within the contextual themes of scientism and material fortitude.

Are they oxymorons?  Not quite.  Inconsistent in an aggregation of conceptual constructs?  Perhaps, to a degree of some incommensurability.  Nevertheless, as even opposites can still attract, and manage to discover ways to synchronize, so the free-flowing phenomenology of creativity inferred by an artistic hand, can with the guiding principles of methodological precision, garner a coordination of approaching beauty by analogy and pastoral effect by metaphor.

With that, we approach the latter half of the title — of a “caravan of words“.  Some would picture in the mind’s eye of a distant past, where antiquity and modernity clash in a final battle of lost yearnings; of a line of camels against the sunset of a desert’s sky, when languages uttered were foreign and exciting in their romantic interludes.  Nowadays, in a world gone mad, no one cares a twit about such scenes except to fear the violence and mayhem which is represented by a technological world having replaced the transport of goods by beasts of burdens.

It is, however, the addendum of “words”, attached to the concept of a caravan, which qualifies for significance and meaning.  For, by conveyance through a manner lost now in the fading antiquity of time, memories and forgotten worlds, we once communicated through a caravan of words, but now simply rush upon a computer key or a smartphone app.

We thus come to the ending chorus, the finale, the drumbeat of closure:  True communication can only occur through a series of burdensome approaches in transporting language into an effective word picture, utilizing both the imagination of artistry and the deliberations of scientific precision.

This should be kept in mind when a Federal or Postal employee who is preparing the Statement of Disability on SF 3112A, that the narrative to be told in response to questions asked, should encompass all of the elements discussed:  unrestrained by the questions themselves, yet precise in formulating the argument; conveyed not by mere convenience of transport, but carefully packed upon the backs of reliable caravans.

Words mean something, and when the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker sits down to prepare an effective Statement of Disability on Standard Form 3112A in order to formulate a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is important to engage in the artistic precision of a caravan of words, lest the means for conveyance of one’s narrative be delayed by an obstacle of technological obfuscation.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire