Medical Retirement from Civil Service: “Well, at least…”

Admittedly, any substantive insight into such a conceptual proverb used in everyday life is attributable to the eloquent thoughts of Yiyun Li, in her recently published collection of essays.  Such insights are so deliciously stated, with linguistic content so deftly conveyed, that the undersigned cannot refrain from grasping, grappling and attempting to add onto that which cannot be improved upon.

Well, at least plagiarism is no longer anything more than a forgivable sin, and not even a venial one at that.  The concept goes to the heart of comparing misery and quantifying misfortune.  When faced with a catastrophe, we minimize by comparative qualificationWell, at least…  As if contrasting a lesser misfortune on a spectrum of possible calamities will pull the pendulum away from the pain and sorrow it has reached, and compel a more balanced perspective and diminish the weight of heartache.  Does such a diminution of personal failure by reducing it to a lesser quantity concurrently minimize the sorrow felt?

To a grieving parent whose oldest child has passed away, while sparing the lives of another sibling or two; Well, at least…  At what point does such an insight fail to achieve its goal?  Would it carry the same weight if 5 of 6 children perished?  Could you still get away with saying the same thing?  What if she is the lone survivor?  At what point on the spectrum of human calamity does such a statement retain any semblance of empathetic import and meaning?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers 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 the positional duties occupied:  Well, at least he/she can file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits…

The fact is, for almost all Federal and Postal employees, that option is the last one they want to initiate; for, most Federal and Postal employees want to continue to maintain, extend and excel in their chosen careers.

In the instance of Federal and Postal employees, however, such a phrase has further significance, in the following manner:  the availability of an alternative in the event that all other avenues of choices become unavailable.  Thus, in such a context, it is not a quantification of sorrow or comparative analysis of choices presented; rather, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is a mere recognition that, in that unwanted event where a promising career needs to be cut short, there is at least the option of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Well, at least…

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Moving on

That is what people want to do, and in the aggregate, the world around.  In engagements with others, there is a limited and quantifiable extent of patience.  It is tantamount to that ‘arc of flight’ that every animal possesses – as long as you remain outside of that safe-zone, you will be a suspicious entity perceived by watchful caution; once you enter and breach the invisible periphery of an unseen arena, you become more than that and declare yourself a danger, a predator and a spoiler of tacit agreements.

Similarly, that interest shown in conveyed concerns – of domestic problems; complaints about personal issues; workplace conflicts that exacerbate common tolerance of stresses experienced; of medical conditions, procedures and impact upon physical and cognitive capacities – may last but a day, a week, a month, or even a year; but then, empathy intersects with everyday life forces, and patience wanes in proportion to an unstated ‘arc of human callousness’, and the justifications begin to echo forth:  “He’s a nice guy, but…”; “I’ve never met someone who has so many problems…”; “Boy, how long is she going to go on complaining?”

We give lip service to the problems of others; we try and maintain that eyebrow of concern, that look of interest and that grim frown of sympathetic pose; but, in the end, people want to move on.

Words allow for linguistic comprehension; spoken communication may touch upon emotional neurotransmitters that convey and enhance the angel in human beings, but there is a limit to the capacity of feeling what a person experiences in the shoes of that proverbial “other”, but in reality, we always remain in our own shoes, constrained within the self-contained egoism of cocoon-like lives, and “moving on” is both the engine of human progress and the regressive malfeasance of an uncaring lot.

In the end, we are left to our own devices.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application becomes a necessity, the empirical experience of others “moving on” will become a familiar refrain, and one that cannot be avoided.

You are no longer part of that mythical “team”; no longer the golden boy or girl who won those accolades translated into merit pay and promotions; and because of the chronic pain, the loss of mental acuity and cognitive decline from the progressively deteriorating, chronic medical condition, the need to prepare, formulate and file a Federal Disability Retirement application becomes that indicator that not only may others be ready to move on – but, more importantly, you are ready to move on.  And the entities that “move on” go about in different directions, and such disengagement and extrication is a natural phenomena resulting from a most unnatural condition of human frailty.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire