Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Minding the ‘happiness principle’

Is there such a thing?  Certainly, enough authors, gurus and faith-healers have claimed it, packaged it and sold it as a commodity to be prepared, marketed and purchased.  Somehow, we are all gullible enough to believe in it:  Just as sorcerers of old possessed powers beyond human comprehension, so we hold on to the hope that such secrets of soothsayers mixing the concoction in a cauldron of expectations may boil over with fumes and aromas we can smell into oblivion.

That secret incantation; those mysterious sequence of codes (yes, which is why the Da Vinci Code was so popular – until it was made into a movie and the audience realized the farcical nature when bad literature is transformed into an ever worse media script); or perhaps it is a deal of Faustian proportions – of one’s soul for the hidden principle, the fountain of youth, the corridor down timeless ecstasy; instead, of course, in this mass-marketing world of consumer gullibility, we cling to the anticipation – despite all historical evidence to the contrary – that there exists a fortune-teller’s abracadabra comprising a happiness principle.

Principles are the foundational guidance for understanding the causal connections of events that occur in the objective world; first principles, as Aristotle liked to point out, are important in their revelatory powers to comprehend the operational mechanisms of this world of Being.  If you don’t know first principles, or the paradigmatic principles that operate behind the scenes – much like the Wizard behind the curtain —  then you will always only know that it happens, not why it does so.

And so we go through life, walking and wandering the streets, seeing others smiling, laughing and seeming to enjoy life, while we stew in the solitude of our private misery, perhaps outwardly attempting to feign such emotional brightness while inwardly decaying with each day’s tumult of angst and anxiety.

In minding the existence of the ‘happiness principle’, we are everyday falling into the statistical trap of that famous quip attributed to the 19th century Showman, P.T. Barnum, that there’s “a sucker born every minute.”  Even if everyday empirical evidence refutes the existential reality of such a principle, we nevertheless hope against fading hope for such a white knight in shining armor – that armor of protective fallacies based upon a nonexistent principle wrapped in the cloaking of hopes unearned and never to be attained.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are down in the dumps because of a medical condition, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the reality that one’s career may be cut short and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits may be a necessity, must fight against the false hope that a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is the “be-all” and “end-all” of life’s miseries.

Medical conditions may continue to remain chronic; there will likely remain many challenges in the future; but the point of filing for Federal Disability Retirement is to allow for one to attain a plateau of hopefulness where one can make one’s health and well-being a priority, without necessarily minding the ‘happiness principle’ or believing in P.T. Barnum’s secret to success.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Today (pause), and Tomorrow

The parenthetical insertion creates a “real-time” interlude, and the addendum of the grammatical mandate, the unnecessary comma, extends the strained quietude of wanting to engage the sequential utterance.  There is the reality of “now”, which we occupy, fill and exist within, and the expectation of a tomorrow which never exists as a wholeness contained within a specified time period, but merely in anticipated form within the imagination of our cognitive universe.  To this, we can always add “yesterday”, as well, but that is merely of memories passed, reflected in the neurocognitive cellars of stored images.

It is of today and tomorrow which matters for the survival of a species, with yesterday reserved for learned experiences allowing for avoidance of mistakes in order to enhance one’s probability for remaining today and advancing into tomorrow.

Of yesterday, there is nothing that we can do, other than to learn from it and squeeze out the corners of lessons presented.

Of today, there are the problems known, the concerns we have to deal with and the stresses we are forced to tolerate.

And of tomorrow, we have to place into bifurcated boxes of manageable sizes, lest the overwhelming contents spill over to make us all go mad.

For, without the ability and capacity to filter, store and set aside, the extent of problems encountered, stresses envisioned or the troubles tormenting, would be of such quantitative overload as to leave us paralyzed daily.  Of chores left undone, relationships needing tethering, obligations still remaining and work much wanting; where will it all end except in the tombstones of unfinished business?

We are thus stuck in the rut of negation; some, in memories reflected over time enhancing in magnitude and perfection as duration allows for the fissures, wrinkles and ugliness of that once “today” to disappear, such that the retrospective life becomes the paradigm of lost souls.  Or, of those tomorrows yet to come, where we ruminate over troubles that have not yet occurred but we imagine them to become, and crisis that have yet to rear its horrific head, or so the expectations grounded in fear and loathing would have us believe.  Of the before and after, we spend so much time worrying about, and lose sight of the ambiance of today.

Today is what matters; today is the time to plan for tomorrow; today is the moment of applying principles failed by yesterday’s lack of discernment.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the focus upon “today” is the parachute that will catch the wind stream for tomorrow’s security. And of the past?  Let it remain with memories foretold of positive thoughts and lessons learned for tomorrow, and not of haunting nightmares forgotten but for awakenings in the middle of the night.

Prepare well a Federal Disability Retirement application, and formulate it effectively, and file it today – not tomorrow, and certainly do not ruminate upon yesterday’s failings, as that has already passed without fruition of a future left unseen.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Living versus being alive

There is a difference, is there not?  Of hummingbirds and cardinals bright against the backdrop of an evergreen; of a child running across the grassy knoll; then of aged men in nursing homes, shuttered away in corners where the drool of saliva unwiped reveals the tarnish of human unkindness; and of prisons rotting away with crowded cells for addicts whose sickness is considered a crime where, in ages past, opium dens and other vices merely preached in empty churches of the difference between mortal and venial sins unrehearsed.  Yet, we have somehow been duped into believing that “movement” is the basis of “living”, and its antonym, the lack thereof, constitutes something less than.

It is often when a medical condition overwhelms one with a debilitating illness, or a chronic state of pain; or, even of inconvenience in not being able to function as other “normal” people do, that it begins to “hit home”:  living is good; being alive, also, is worth it.  Perhaps the distinction is scoffed at by the healthy; as youth believes in the immortality and invincibility of foolhardiness, and often tests it to the detriment of failure and embarrassment, so wisdom may accompany an insight of some rather insignificant profundity – that we can boast well when everything is merely a hypothetical, as in ivory towers of university concepts, but we are all willing to compromise when the stark choices of life present themselves within limited contexts of concealed alternatives.

Being alive isn’t all that bad; living is preferable, but sometimes we have to accept the choices as presented by the reality of our unique and individualized circumstances.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates ending one’s career and shortening one’s desire for continuation in a chosen field, the recognition and admission as to the limitations imposed by one’s mortality, health and physical boundaries, as well as the impact of psychiatric conditions upon one’s ability to have the cognitive focus, concentration and attention to detail, will oftentimes require compromises that come close to the distinction noted – of living, versus being alive.

Perhaps the contrast has not swung in the pendulum of such extremes of options, but the feeling is certainly something that hits close to home.  For, continuation in the job will only further and progressively debilitate, such that you will come to a point of no return and end up simply being alive.  Living, as the preferable choice, is to take the steps in preparing, formulating and filing 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, precisely in order to prevent that state of last option prior to the ultimate test of mortality’s humor – of merely being alive, as opposed to living.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Analogies

It is the greater concept often developed through metaphors and similes; but to the extent they are now of use depends largely upon the shared cultural context within which we live.  If Classical literature is no longer the common thread of meaningful discourse, can references to them in creating analogies work?  To share that a person’s tragedy is more Shakespeare than Milton, or that the individual’s circumstances remind one more akin to The Road to Wigan Pier than Brideshead Revisited, can such conversations take on a relevant pathway if the intellectual divide fails to be crossed?

You can, of course, always Google and quickly get the quick rundown of the literary reference through electronic Spark Notes, or some other venue of shortcutting the arduous endeavor reserved in former times; but even that may reveal an inadequacy that cannot be overcome.  For, of what part of the book or author is being referred to?  Is it any particular play or poem, or the entirety of the work itself?  Is it any specific character or scene?

Some philosophers have posited that, by and large, we comprehend and make sense of the objective world through the use of analogies, built upon by metaphors and similes; for, language itself is a conglomerate of such literary devices.  To face the universe purely for survival’s sake is to forego the need for imposing the ordering through language; animals do not require it, but in the most rudimentary of mechanisms that advance warning signs and preemptive communications; it is only in the arena of human constructs where categorical imperatives need to be assigned in order to filter the world into more palatable and circumscribed entities for processing the complexities we have created.

Analogies thus communicate through the medium of shared conceptual constructs, where we draw in the recipient and spectator, the audience of our targeted comparisons, by relating a shared, known and familiar encapsulation of linguistic constructs.  It is only when the strangeness of the metaphor, the unfamiliarity of the reference, creates further puzzlement and loss of connection, that problems occur and relationships become fissures of language games gone awry.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal employees who suffer 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 positional duties, the applicability of providing a foundational construct of relating one’s story to an “administrative specialist” at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will often involve – and require – analogies by default.

Use them sparingly; utilize discretion; and, in writing up one’s narrative in response to the questions posed on SF 3112A (Applicant’s Statement of Disability), remember that this is not the time, the context or the best place to try out radical, untested metaphors, similes or analogies.

Thus, while those who have read Orwell’s work, The Road to Wigan Pier, as well as Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, may find a clever and appropriate place in one’s Applicant’s Statement of Disability to make some brilliant literary reference, it may be more prudent to stick to the medical facts and incorporate those supportive documents in dealing with analogies of life, health, and the nexus between the latter and one’s Federal or Postal job duties.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The precarious self

Self-preservation is said to be high on the list of instinctive survival mechanisms – that which society cannot “un-learn” because of the inherent nature of such evolutionary entrenchment of DNA-coded characteristics.  It used to be that, whether in the mythical “State of Nature” as advanced and envisioned by Locke, Hobbes or Rousseau, or the more fossil-based models as posited by anthropologists, the individual who was widely considered as a precarious survivor was quickly extinguished from the gene pool either though acts of foolish daring or by neglectful carelessness.

Survival was, until recent times, always high on the list of priorities.

In modernity, we rarely even consider it, and that is why we cringe with disbelief at horror stories of sitting placidly in a café or restaurant when suddenly innocent bystanders are being shot at, or become the victims of an explosion where shrapnel and other ravaging debris aim at the human flesh – not for predatory hunger, but for mere destruction and devastation.  Laws become enacted and govern safety; mechanisms are put in place to prevent industrial accidents or massive catastrophes impacting a wide swath of population centers; these are all, in modernity, for the most part, avoided and of rare occurrence.

Thus, the precarious self has become an irrelevant concern, or not at all.  The incommensurate dilemma of an individual being lost in his or her own thoughts as he walks upon a den of wolves out to find and devour dinner, is not of a major concern; perhaps, the closest we may come to in considering the precarious self is of a person lost in thought who crosses the street without looking for oncoming traffic; but, even that, the new technology arming every vehicle with sensors which automatically prompts the braking systems are attending to that potentiality, as well.

It is, in the end, more in the arena of making mistakes, proceeding in ignorance and creating circumstances of irreconcilable self-destructiveness, that the concept even becomes applicable or comprehensible, in these days.  For example, in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application by a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker, does the Federal employee or Postal worker know enough about “The Laws” governing Federal Disability Retirement in order to proceed successfully?  Have you spent enough time to familiarize yourself with the statute, the case-law and precedents of recent import in order to successfully maneuver your way through the administrative process?

This is, whether one likes it or not, a highly bureaucratized universe, and the ability to avoid the precarious self often requires a great amount of investment of one’s time, energy and concentrated focus upon the details of daily, unavoidable complexities.  Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee falls under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is something that requires avoidance of the precarious self, at a minimum; and, more than that, to maneuver around the precarious “others” as well – including the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The wish for erasure

Once, we used pencils because such implements are almost always accompanied by an eraser.  It was an acknowledgment of human imperfection, of the potentiality for making a mistake, and the realization that any extent of human activity should recognize the wish, the need and reality for erasure.  But that such corrections could similarly be made for lives lived, hurts fostered and damages perpetrated.  Yet, the historical requirement that has necessitated the wish for erasure has itself been erased, or significantly diminished – of a conscience instilled and allowed for maturation, where remorse, regret and readiness of heart for redemption touches upon the deeper essence of one’s soul.

Modernity has persuaded itself that guilt is but an anthropological myth created to make subservience a cauldron of psychological neediness.  Psychology is king; pharmacological stupor is the methodology for erasure, if not avoidance; and, what once we wished for in a guilt-ridden caravan of emotional remorse opening the door to forgiveness, regret and redemption, is now repressed to hide the once glorious sheen of the god in man, the elevated soul beyond the appetitive beastliness, and a lowering of that pinnacle of creation where we once walked leisurely beyond the garden of heavenly quietude, now banished from paradise into a constant flux of a state of war and cruelty.

Yet, despite attempting to destroy the wish for erasure, that goal to erase the wish for erasure has itself been an imperfect and unperfected initiation.  Somehow, the flame still remains, and like the eraser that never quite completely does the job, but allows for that faint image of writing to still remain, the wish for erasure leaves the humanity of man within grasp of redemption.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the analogy of the pencil with the eraser is akin to the circumstances the Federal and Postal employee finds him/herself in:  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement is a means to start anew, by “erasing” the career one could not complete, but allowing for continuation in the private sector, perhaps another vocation, a second career, or a means to engage an activity for productivity in another realm.

The wish for erasure has always been a part of human desire, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is the closest one may get to reclaiming that redemptive opportunity to engage a future yet untold.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: The compromised life

We all make them, though we deny it.  Iconoclasts scorn it; the extremes of either side scoff at it; and, in the end, it reflects the reality of who we are, how we live, and by what vaunted principles we purportedly possess.

On a theoretical level, it is easy to remain the stalwart – that singular entity standing on principle and commitment.  The one who has never experienced war – to express beliefs of “courage”, “unwavering loyalty” and blind bravery declared in wrappings of the flag and national identity.  Or of fidelity and traditional values despite personal shortcomings of multiple marital infidelities and 3 or 4 marriages, with the devastation of a trail of longing children with a hole in each heart, wishing that principles could be exchanged for a single memory of playing catch on a summer’s day.

If you are sequestered whether by wealth or capacity to ignore, it is easy to shout out principles; but, then, when the test of life intrudes, the failings of reality reconstitute an extraordinary hypothetical into a quivering crumbling of an ordinary person.

Ordinariness is certainly rarely looked upon as the paradigm to follow, and the argument often goes:  You never want to dumb down deviancy (Moynihan’s famous phrase extrapolated from a generation or two ago, lost forever by events of social and cultural turmoil hence), and so, even if no one actually lives like the pinnacle of beautiful thoughts and voices stated by writers, essayists and politicians (who themselves bifurcate “personal conduct” from the espoused rhetoric emitted from hollow mouths with a dead-panned look of seriousness), the common masses are admonished by rebukes of being responsible for the “cultural rot” that dissipates throughout.

Reality has a way of compromising the apex of beautiful words, paragraphs, pages and entire narratives of a singular life.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition may be preventing the Federal or Postal worker from being able to perform all of the essential elements of the position occupied, the concept of a compromised life is now a reality.  For, the sequential perspective of what is expected – of continuing until retirement age a career fulfilled, with regular promotions and deserved merit pay – may need to be ‘adjusted’ in accordance with the reality of life’s impositions.

Having a compromised life and accepting the compromises of life’s misgivings is not a sin, nor a diminution of one’s principled belief-system; instead, in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is merely a recognition that theoretical foundations were always meant to be modified, and those speechifying vanguards of social commentators never meant the fulfillment of their own words, anyway, and it was always the compromised life that reflected the reality of the boorish insistence that we were angels and gods unknown.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire