Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The out-of-tune band

There is something particularly annoying about a piece of music, an orchestral ensemble or a simple song that is out of synchronized perfection, or put quite simply, out of tune.

The annoyance can be traced, of course, to the origin of the discordant piece; the “band” itself, the group of musicians or the orchestra or symphony that is responsible for the unpleasant sound waves that drift through the molecular structure of the unseen world and pervades down into the refractive caverns of one’s ears, then interprets through neurons firing in order to “hear” the vibrations that are supposedly in consonance with one another such that it becomes a coherent song, piece or musical collection.

The out-of-tune band is indeed an annoyance, and we believe should be outlawed and made illegal.  Short of that, what is it about a discordant collection of individual instruments that makes it unpleasant?

Taken individually, perhaps each player of a particular instrument can play it with utmost perfection; yet, when two or more players come together, it makes for an exponentially complicated attempt at coalescence, harmonious combination and synchronized heavenliness.

Getting married – of two different people coming together and making a lifetime commitment without killing one another – is difficult enough; getting a band together and coordinating disparate sounds and vibrations and, through practice, creating music that approaches a pleasantness of sounds – now, that is what you call nigh impossible, and somewhat like marriage in the sounds of silence (sorry, but somehow one must always try and include Simon and Garfunkel’s classic; and, of course, we must ask the eternal question: What ever happened to Art Garfunkel?) that we all strive to achieve by perfection of heavenly voices.

A Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is somewhat like trying to put a band together, as well.  Coordinating all of the elements – the Statement of Disability; the medical evidence, making the legal arguments; delineating the entirety of the Federal Disability Retirement packet into a coherent whole such that it does not “sound” discordant, which then hints at a trough of suspicion or insincerity, which then further leads back to an “annoyance” at the originator of the Federal Disability Retirement packet, and a likely denial from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – is an important step towards an uncertain outcome.

Like the out-of-tune band, the success of a Federal Disability Retirement application cannot be just “putting together” a few documents here and there and haphazardly writing one’s Statement of Disability; no, it must be put together so that there is coherence, coordination and coalescence in bringing together all of the evidence for such an endeavor to be deemed “a fine tune”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The Kokeshi doll

They are wooden dolls that are colorful, with expressions painted upon that remain frozen except for the change that naturally occurs when viewed from differing angles of sight, reflecting altered perspectives and modified vantage points depending upon one’s own emotions.  They sit on tabletops, shelves and can be a child’s playmate, though parents often view them more valuably as display items rather than taking the chance that the little brother may play them as reenactments of a prior war imagined to be fought by banging pieces of wood and throwing them against the yet-undamaged wall.

The heads are often disproportionately larger than the remainder of the body; and the rest and remainder, often just a block of smoothed wood with hands painted in a one-dimensional pattern, revealing no motion but straddling limply alongside the rectangular shape, like a submissive figure shuffling down life’s difficult trials in the daily struggles we all face.

The Kokeshi doll never complains, but always delights; never talks back, but eternally agrees; and never fails to bring light into a dark corner, but forever allows for a reminder that it is the trivial joys of life that make for worthwhile endurance in times of misgivings.  We are all, in many ways, expected to be like these inanimate objects that we have projected our own emotional well-being upon.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact the Federal or Postal employee’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal employee’s job, the fact that you are no longer able to remain impassive, implacable, disaffected and unmoved by the manner in which the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service has begun to treat you, is not an extraordinary insight to possess and be suddenly enlightened by.

Though we may enjoy the delightful colorfulness of a Kokeshi doll, we cannot expect to be nor act like one.  It was always the productivity released, the competence revealed and the level of contribution inputted that made the Federal or Postal employee “valuable” to a Federal agency or a Postal facility; but when a medical condition hits a person, it is simply “not right” that the Federal agency or U.S. Postal Service should treat the Federal or Postal employee as merely another Kokeshi doll who should remain quiet and unperturbed standing in a corner.

Thus, when the Federal agency or Postal facility fails to treat the Federal or Postal employee as something more than the inanimate object a Kokeshi doll ultimately is, it may be time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, before that rough-and-tumble younger brother comes along and really begins to mistreat that block of wood.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement from Working with the Federal Government: Originality

It is a frightening word; for, it is what we all strive for, yet almost always fall short, fail or attempt to justify and obfuscate for not quite reaching that goal.

Fortunately, there are at least two, but likely an infinite number of, avenues of avoidance in being charged with its lack:  First, and fortunately, plagiarism is not a criminal offense and, moreover, no one really seems to care except in the most egregious of instances, and furthermore, for those professing to be constrained by Catholic orthodoxy, it isn’t even a venial sin, let alone a mortal one.

Second (and ad infinitum as to the corollaries, so that we do not have to go beyond the phrase, “And secondly” or engage in the Internet’s most popular search engine contrivances that always includes, “Five ways to..” or the “Ten most important…”), there is always an excuse for its lack, beginning with:  “Well, I did the best I could”; “It’s not so important to be unique as to feel good about yourself”, and the dead ringer:  “There is no originality left; everything has already been spoken for.”

Is that why the period between “the original” and “the remake” keeps becoming shorter and shorter?  Is it an unavoidable truism that – from themes and plots for stories, novels and other similar genres, to television shows and movies, as well as songs and artworks – there is a limit of finite constraints that even human creativity cannot avoid?

History reveals that originality of profound dimensions will arise in spurts and burps; from Continental Europe’s juggernaut of painters and writers, to America’s continuum of astounding literary greats including Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Updike to Vonnegut; and, in the great tradition and power of the Russian novelists and playwrights, from Dostoevsky to Chekhov and multiple others, without even reaching back to centuries preceding, the originality of works steeped in profound insights cannot be denied.

Has modernity followed a similar course, or has the bludgeoning of unceasing informational overload tempered the capacity of human creativity?

There is a known, coy quip about the formulaic recipe for great literary or visual works:  “Have a terrible childhood, and write about it.”  Thus, such a perspective is reinforced by Dickens and other coconspirators.  A cousin to that rule is to live through political turmoil under repressive circumstances, and the validation for that is revealed by Eastern European and South American writers of current vintage, especially now that translations have been improved and perfected.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the concern about originality should enter but only in a cursory manner.

Facts must guide; the evidence will prevail.

In preparing answers to the connivances of questions required on SF 3112A (Applicant’s Statement of Disability), do not try to be “original” in writing the narrative of one’s life, medical conditions and the impact upon one’s positional duties.

Remember always the other quip that must be recognized:  That each individual is already a paradigm of the original, and while the narrative engaged may not always be unique, and the reviewer at OPM may have “seen one and seen them all”, it is nevertheless one of a kind whether recognized and acknowledged by others, precisely because the life-experiences the Federal Disability Retirement applicant has endured has been nothing but original in the first instance.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Comfort in regularity

There are those who relish the seas of daily change and the excitement of altered circumstances in daily discourse.  But as the rhythms of a seasonal perpetuity teach us of Nature’s need for regularity, so the biorhythms imparted can often form avenues of predictable patterns.  There is comfort in regularity (no, for those with singular minds, we are not here referring to the constancy of utilizing bathroom facilities; although, there is also some truth in that perspective, as well); of engaging in the monotony of expectations, unchanging circumstances and boredom of daily redundancy.

If we interpreted Bishop Berkeley’s philosophy to the extreme, each time we were to leave a room, the physical world we left behind would vanish; upon our re-entrance into the “same” room, it would again materialize, but who knows if the armchair in the corner with the slight tear in the seam of the cushion has not been moved several inches to one side or the other?

Wasn’t that always the fear in Star Trek, when Scotty would push the lever for the transporter, and the molecular deconstruction of the individual would occur – but the danger involved the potential interference within that short timeframe, when the reconstitution of matter might bring about a missing limb, a lesser intellect, or leave on the dinner table in the previous location one’s eyes, nose or mouth?  But the digression into science fiction merely points out the obvious; whether via molecular transporter or physically walking from one room into another, the expectation of “sameness” is what we rely upon, in order to maintain a sanity which otherwise would be lost in a sea of constant change.

It is, ultimately, the paradigmatic confrontation between the age-old perspective of two old philosophical grouches – of Parmenides and Heraclitus; of permanence seen in a world of a singular whole as opposed to the constancy of an ever-changing universe.  Note that, in either perspective, there is a regularity that is sought and discovered:  the expectation of consistent change constitutes that regularity we seek; and the regularity of a singularity of permanence reinforces that comfort in the same.  That is what we forever sought and continue to seek – and it is in the comfort of regularity that we maintain our balanced perspective.

That is why the turmoil of change is often devastating for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position.  The inability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties is frustrating enough; such alterations often require accommodations, but when such requests are rejected, it is like a verdict upon one’s worth by the agency or the Postal facility:  You are not worth the trouble of change.

Yet, that change or alteration in the schedule, flexibility of attendance, or other minor adjustments, are often of no greater effort by the Agency than Scotty pushing the lever to initiate the power of the transporter.  But, then, Captain Kirk was quite good at making adjustments and ad-libbing as he went along – something that most Federal agencies and the Postal Service are unable to do; and that is when preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application becomes an ever-present need that will ensure the comfort in regularity of purpose, goals and future security.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Employee Disability Retirement: The carousel of life

It is the easiest of analogies to ponder:  of a vision in the humdrum of circularity; different sizes, shapes, and images of artistry; of the choices we make and the alternatives offered; where we sit in life, of the approaches we take and the variable speed of the up and down motion; do we possess the fearless temerity to change midway from a lumbering, elephantine facade to the sleek and pathological ride of a cheetah?  Does the music have the concordant synchronicity such that it is neither an annoyance nor a distracting disturbance?  Or do we even take note of the loud cacophony of the blaring entourage, or merely as a backdrop to the excitement in the very ride we undertake?

Some recent intellectuals have argued that human beings comprehend their interaction, environment, place and significance in this world, only through the thought-process of analogical thinking; that the intersection of words, linguistic culpability and attachment of language games to encounters with the objective, impervious world of reality, becomes elevated to that Rorschach moment when the obfuscating inkblots of an objective universe otherwise indistinguishable from the insular parallelism of one’s own conceptual constructs suddenly explodes with insight and vigorous apprehension.

That was the problem with the nascent approach of existentialists; somehow, we all recognized that something was missing.  But instead of taking a right turn, that missing “something” took the wrong path down the corridors of Foucault and Derrida, and allowed for deconstruction to embrace the self-destructive charisma of nothingness.  How we understand the world; what we impart to it; the self-image of whence we came; and the walking pictures we carry about in the chasms of our psyche; they all matter, and the narrative of our lives become written the longer we survive in this anachronism called “life”.  We have become misfits in a virtual world of our own making.

The metaphors we establish within ourselves; the analogies we create to comprehend; the novel within each of us and the narrative of carefully chosen ideologies; all cumulatively define the essence of our being.  And thus as we ride the carousel of life, or watch ourselves ride from a distance, matters little to those who have decided to sit this round out; and yet, they, too — whether from afar or in a slumber of repose, must by necessity hear the music which plays regardless of whether one rides the circularity of the metaphor.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, of course, such an analogy can be a poignant reminder of the current state of turmoil.  Perhaps the analogy takes on greater significance if we posit a mechanical failure — of stoppage of the rhythmic ride, and where the music also blares a discordant trumpet of shattered symphonies screeching with discomfort down the sensitive eardrums of the bystanders.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service 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 the Federal or Postal positional duties, have a clear choice to make:  Stay on the broken carousel; get off and walk away with nothing; or, of greater benefit and reward, to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application and submit it to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

If the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, and has the minimum years of service in order to become eligible, then it is time to consider that it is not the carousel of life that has broken, but merely failure of the operator to take into account the suitability of the particular vision with the individual embracing that concept.  It is not always the rider’s fault; sometimes, the faulty ride itself has miscalculated the algorithm of synchronizing the music to the roundabout.  Think of it in terms of the man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz — but then, that is for another blog altogether.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The mere asking of a question

In modernity, the asking of the question in itself raises a suspicion.  Being curious no longer kills the cat in some obscure, proverbial manner; to inquire immediately brands the individual and categorizes the questioner based upon the query of conventional consciousness.  Thus is debate of any kind quelled; for, to engage in a dialectical process requires a prefatory landscape of imaginative fertility; but in an atmosphere of poison and shallow interests already consecrated, there can be no classic form of “give-and-take”, of a level of intellectual inquiry required for the pursuance of excellence, improvement or uncanonized thought processes.

Can society ever escape from this cycle of self-immolation, where intellectual integrity is questioned, when speakers are shouted down at quiet lecture halls of solicitations for a teleology of thought, and at a level of purposive questioning, as in the days of yore when the pestering Socrates questioned every convention of the powerful and influential?

It will be difficult, if only because the widespread de-coupling of thought from information, separated by the force of modern technology, where deviation from identity is difficult to maintain, has made drones of us all.  Fortunately, law is, and remains somewhat in a sacrosanct manner, an arena which allows the simple query to survive, if only within the compound of argumentation for a cause.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who becomes the victim of one’s own bureaucracy, where a medical condition requires an accommodation but the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service is unable, or unwilling, to pursue avenues to allow for the continuation of one’s chosen career, preparing an effective 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 often the best and only alternative to pursue.

The battle of inquiry and improvement — for, if you think about it, they go hand in hand in that the only way to “improve” anything is by questioning the status quo — may have to come to an end; and as it takes effort to expend to question and contend for greater heights and levels of excellence, so the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition no longer allows for the Federal or Postal employee to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service — the energy expended in other areas must now be preserved to attend to one’s medical condition and the deteriorating health of one’s body, mind and soul.

Sometimes, the mere asking of a question must be left alone, where silence is the golden ray of future radiance, and where youth may be the proper province to leave behind a generation of upstarts who never had the opportunity to ask that ever-childhood query, “Why?”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire