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

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits for Federal Employees: The bugle

Unlike its cousins, it has no valves or pitch-altering devices, but must be modified through the movement of the lips, the extent of breath exhaled and the undulating modifications of combined muscles in the lips, tongue and throat.  Perhaps from the days of riding a horse in the cavalry, where playing an instrument while charging full force ahead on a horse stumbling across rough terrain forced the instrument’s player to modulate through strain of keeping one’s self from falling; in any event, its very lack of complexity belies the simplicity of the bugle, as appearances are indeed deceiving.

Whether playing Taps in that mournful tone, or reveille in that jarring sound as the signal to awaken for morning roll call, or the charge to execute a cavalry or infantry advancement — that frightening sound to Indian tribes signifying the destruction of a culture long awaiting death – its class of variety extends well beyond most choices provided.

Trumpets of all sorts may be included in the family – from Piccolo trumpets, slide trumpets and multiple others from A to G and beyond; but the bugle stands alone in its structural simplicity and reliance upon the creativity of the holder who dares to attempt to master its range of pitches by the vocal creativity and lips pursed in controlled spurts of exhaling the intricacies of man’s attachment to inert objects to fill the air with sounds unnatural but for the beauty of music.

That range of pitches – from the morning call to awaken with energy reverberating from a cadence of jolting magnitude; to the charging rampage of a galloping horse; to the sorrowful tears of life’s end represented by the draping of a flag upon the coffin; these, in their collective entirety, depict the spectrum of life:  Of youthful exuberance; to middle-aged hope and faith; to the black veil of a life well lived; the sound of the bugle encompasses all.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find themselves in that twilight of life’s stages – somewhere beyond the youthful enthusiasm, but well before the illumination reflected by the funeral pyre – perhaps it is the sound of the bugle in the last stages of reveille, before the first note of Taps is emitted; and the medical condition has blanketed the tone, quality and loudness of the music of life, and a further stanza of a narrative interrupted must be composed.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is like the bugler’s call to order, and sometimes the sound of music must be heard at the end of a piece, and a pause must be endured, before the beginning of the next.  That is the challenge and the beauty of the bugle – an instrument for all stages in the pendulum of life’s musical quality.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement from Federal Employment: Mansions with many rooms

There is room enough, and the imagery posed by the concept presents the warmth of an open invitation, whether the guest is willing, able or otherwise unprepared for such unconditional hospitality.  Mansions often pose a stoic, cold and unwelcoming façade, and it is always the people who inhabit them and the guests who frequent such expansive and impersonal grounds that make the difference between icy relationships of uncaring attitudes steeped in jealousies engendered and encouraged by competition, envy and mistrust, or the comfort of caring families.

It need not be a steadfast rule that the larger the house, the less amiable the people; or, its corollary, the smaller the abode, the qualitative and proportionate substance involving mirth, laughter and joy.  It is, perhaps, the feeling that geometric expansion and distance between rooms correlates with a certain stoicism that encourages lack of closeness; whereas, if you have to double-up in bunks and share bathrooms, wait upon one another just to get by a narrow passageway, you are forced to tolerate the quixotic eccentricities and foibles of each other, and quick and easy forgiveness is not too far away when you have to live in close quarters where anger, holding grudges and carrying pockets full of resentments simply will not do, as such overloads of unnecessary burdens tend to weigh each other down into a pit of misery that cannot withstand a house full of people.

Once, a local pastor quipped, “Where there are people, there are problems.”  True enough, and one might add:  “And when gathered into close quarters, the ugliness shows through all the more.”  Perhaps it is that the heavenly mansion has many rooms, not because so many people are expected to arrive as permanent residents; rather, because angels and spiritual entities who have crossed the irreversible divide care neither for cramped spaces nor of expansive comfort, but live contentedly wherever they are.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who work for a Federal agency or a Postal facility, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the mansion with many rooms is likened to the particular workplace that one spends so much time in.  Then, when you become the subject of gossip, the trigger point of harassment and the butt of whispered jokes because you have taken so much time off, filed for FMLA protection as well as grievances and EEO Complaints to try and ward off the constant adversarial actions directed against you, it may be time to consider a change of residences.

No, this is not to imply that you should consider the “spiritual” world; rather, to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  For, as with the proverbial mansion with many rooms, it is not the place itself that makes much difference, but the people whom you are surrounded by, and when a medical condition begins to impact your ability to perform the essential elements of the job, it is perhaps time to seek another with many rooms, or a smaller house with friendlier occupants.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire