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 and Postal Disability Retirement Benefits: Signs

It is the title of a song by a group called, “Five Man Electrical Band”, first released in 1970, then re-released in 1971, and the lyrics intelligently portray a world replete with warnings, admonitions, commands and curtailing threats, demanding of us a conduct of conformity otherwise ignored unless backed by such direct mandates.

Of course, there are the other, more subtle signs that we either ignore or otherwise dismiss because of the quiet manner of reproach initiated.  Those subtle signs as evidenced by facial expressions; of a look unexplainable but surely existent with consequential meaning; or premonitions of rougher surf and winds blowing, animals fleeing to the relative safe havens guided by instinctive alarm; and of the rush of adrenaline raising the tiny prickles upon out neck and backs, in dark corners of unlit areas when sounds so distant precede the visual image of oncoming danger.

Do we pick up on them, or go through life disregarding unless and until the reverberations of such deliberate ignorance shatters the calm and quietude of our joyful resolve to remain blind behind a security of negation?  Those trite statements of permeable permissibility:  “He was a nice, quiet man,” said the neighbor next door after the devastation left by the referent cause; “I never saw it coming,” hoarsely uttered by the hospitalized individual in the midst of destruction and debris-filled lands; “Who would have thought…”  And, indeed, in this universe where thinking is paramount, and observation of subtleties a requirement for survival, it is that which we ignore that can harm and injure.

There are those in life who float through and must be protected by means of oversight and constant care; some drivers on the road (or, perhaps, most of them) have no business carrying a license; it is only because others avoid and careen away that survival without a dent, a bruise or a catastrophic collision carries forth an undisturbed pathway from point A to the destination of choice.  And so we have new signs to consider:  It is now unlawful to text or otherwise use a Smartphone in hand, while others who drive with one hand stuffing a cheeseburger in one’s mouth while drinking a coke with the other, and with that invisible third hand pushing buttons on the panel to change satellite stations – somehow, that is safer because the signs tell us so, or at least implicitly inform as to the priority of current concerns.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are surrounded by signs – both subtle and direct – that it is time to move on, ignoring them will not make the underlying, substantive problems dissipate.  Having a medical condition is the first sign, but one which may have no significant impact; but when that medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal employee’s positional duties, then such an indicia of life’s intersecting whisper should, at a minimum, be elevated to a “warning”.

And when the signs flashing from the Agency’s perspective – of warnings, threats, harassing actions and administrative sanctions – begin to blare loudly as more than just a passing blur of the speed limit which we all tend to ignore, but instead becomes planted prominently for you and all to see, then it is time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, so that the signs indicated don’t result in those flashing lights in the review mirror forcing us to stop and be hauled before a magistrate to explain those actions of ignoring such signs which we knew, or should have known, needed to be followed.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The script of life

Seeking out the pathways of precognition by consulting with the ancient oracles, was merely that same attempt.  Prediction and foreknowledge were the precursors of script writing; as the former failed to provide an advantageous statistical weighting, so the shift to a more pragmatic approach reflects the recognition that the gods provided no greater insight than mere chance, and so we’d better get on with life and attempt to control fate, destiny and the travesties of life’s lottery by writing the narrative ourselves.

Thus do economic systems of varying control mechanisms arise, where socialism and fascism, state-run artifices constructed to ensure prevention of extremes, thereby comforting us from the worst nightmares and fears born of childhood insecurities.

Virtual reality is safer than real reality; staring into a smartphone and chasing figments of imaginative characters and ghosts that exude cuteness in violent but funny ways, are all preferable to facing the harshness of daily living.  We may not know when we will capture the prize, but the script has been written so that it becomes settled law as to whether.  Reality shows may sometimes surprise, but the unexpected itself is easily anticipated; that is part of the deal, and there is not much art in it after all.

Shakespeare’s quote comes from his play, As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII:  “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.”

Such was the surrender to fate, now replaced by inane self-help books which purportedly boosts one’s self-confidence, makes one look like a Reality T.V. personality, and allegedly creates wealthy patrons of us all.  All throughout, we seek merely to obtain a copy of the script of life so that we can practice our parts, and not have to think about what must be done.  We seek predictability when the world offers chance; beg for mercy, when all there appears is savagery; and fall prey to the oracles of modernity, when even the ancients failed to deliver.

In the sphere of Federal and Postal employees, of course, it is the medical condition itself which was never asked to be included in that script of life.  It is one of those “curve-balls” which happens to the other guy, and never to us; or so we always played our part to live by.  But when it occurs, and life presents the unpredictable in a chaotic universe of harsh reality, we are asked to simply “deal with it”, and so we must.

For the Federal or Postal employee whose medical condition begins to impact and prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Postal or Federal positional duties, the script which must be ad-libbed is the part where decisions concerning the future must be engaged.  Should I file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits?  When should the process be started?  Is it ever too late?  Is the Federal Disability Retirement application filed with my agency, or with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management?  Should I consult with an attorney?

These questions, and many more, even the ancient oracles would not have been able to answer.  The undeniable fact is, that the script of life rarely is written to reflect the reality of life’s harshness; it simply “is”, and must be acted upon according to what is given, even when consulting with the high priest or priestess of the ancient oracles provides only silence and an impervious unresponsiveness.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

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.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The work left undone

If life were merely a series of projects attended to, completed and accomplished with a declaration of unassailable certitude, like a period at the end of a sentence, the final paragraph of a novel, or silence upon a speaker’s conclusion; of a linear progression forever with movement on a horizontal graph; but it is not.

Instead, the circularity of life’s problems, of concerns regurgitated and revisited because unattended or otherwise reappearing, like the aunt who visits unannounced and the uncle exhaustively referred to as the “black sheep” of the family who appears at one’s doorstep with suitcase in hand; it is the boil behind the leg that keeps resurfacing, where the ill winds of unexpected vicissitudes keeping getting a second chance when redemption is unwanted and uncalled for, but nevertheless reappears for the salvation of one’s soul.

And, in some sense, it is a salvation, isn’t it?  For, if life were a series of work completed, never to be revisited but always working without need for repairs, we would realize the finite nature of the world and care not to attend to the past.  Instead, it is precisely the work left undone which compels us to keep plugging along, to rewrite the list by the items we crossed off and the ones we reordered; and it tells something about one, in the manner of how that list is reorganized.

Do the items yet remaining get full status at the top of the yellow pad in the new order of priorities, or does it remain again relegated to those unwanted and undesired categories, like the illegal immigrant somehow existing but forever ignored and unnoticed, without the full rights and privileges of the legitimized constructs arriving by arbitrary choice?  We were taught as children that the work left undone reflected a character flaw, but somehow, as we grew older, we realized that but for those things left asunder, the incompleteness of life would have no value, no meaning, and ultimately no reason to live for.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents him or her from performing all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the work left undone often presents a dilemma of sorts: the completion of one’s career becomes untenable; each day, one falls further and further behind; and of life’s lesson ingrained from childhood, that we should always finish the plate of food we are served, cannot be fulfilled, and so we ruminate and worry, fret and flounder in this farcical mythology of linear fiction.

For such Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, 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 the best alternative and only real solution available.  For, what we were never told is that the work left undone is merely in the eye of the beholder, as beauty depends upon the perspective of the audience and worth upon the buyer who desires; and that the Westerner’s world-view of a linear-based universe is certainly not shared by the Easterner who comprises the greater part of the infinite panoply, as represented by Shiva’s circle of fire.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The caustic nature of disdain in parity

In human history, class structure — whether of bloodlines or lineage; of wealth or claim to title and royalty; or of validated descendants from ancestral superiority — has been the norm.

Then, along came a religious figure (unnamed herein to avoid risk of inflammatory offense and preventing the potential for implosions of alarming hashtags in fits of fear and panic) who posited the notion that the “poor” (that class of mass populace which comprises the greater part of the world) should take “pity” upon the “rich” (those in the minority of the greater class struggle who control and manipulate the invisible levers of the world) because of the difficulties inherent in obtaining the proper credentials to enter through the proverbial pearly gates.

He went further in word-pictures of masterful storytelling, painting images of hellfire, suffering and punishment for those who mistreated the former, and where rewards, awards and commendations bestowed were merely of a temporary and ephemeral nature, whereas the eternal damnation based upon pleasures enjoyed in the temporal world would last well beyond the palliative superficiality of currency beheld.

The problem unstated, however, when the concept of “pity” was introduced, was twofold:  First, the validation of such a feeling and perspective made equals of those in unequal circumstances, and one could even argue, reversed the roles maintained for societal conformity and stability, and enforced a parity of stature; and, second, the emotional and psychological make-up comprised in the very heart of “pity”, is akin to “disdain”, and is a close cousin thereof.  Yes, yes — the one attaches to charity, a desire to assist and retains elements of empathy, sympathy, etc.; but it is more than that.  “Pity” allows for parity of status and stature, just as “disdain” reverses the roles of societal convention.

That religious figure of yore (though we may impute total and complete omniscience upon the fella) injected into society a heretofore unnecessary and problematic component of societal disruption.  It is, indeed, the caustic nature of disdain, which can evolve from pity, that presents itself as the poison which kills and the infectious spreading of ill-will and discomfiture.  The feeling of unease quickly spread throughout nations and continents, and we are in the state we find ourselves in modernity, because of that uninvited infusion of dissatisfaction.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who daily toil with a medical condition, and face the onslaught of the Federal workforce and the Postal groups, the problem of pity and disdain, and their combined causticity is well-known.  So long as you were healthy and fully productive, your coworkers, Supervisors and Managers treated you within the well-defined “class-structure” of acceptable conduct and behavior.  Once it was “found out” about your medical condition, suddenly their attitude and treatment towards you changed, and altered dramatically, or perhaps (in some instances) in incremental subtleties of quiet reserve but spiteful turns.

Perhaps some “pitied” you, and you them; but such feelings have turned to disdain — not on their half, but from your perspective. Why?  How?  You are the one with the medical condition, who cannot perform all of the essential elements of your Federal or Postal job, so what right have you?

Precisely because of that historical figure of yesteryear; that the true essence of human nature is to be cruel, and thus the best alternative remaining is to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in an effort to preserve the last vestiges of a class structure quickly fading in this world where the caustic nature of disdain in parity still survives.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire