FERS Disability Retirement: Refutation of Stefan Zweig’s Essay

FERS OPM Medical Retirement: Refutation of Stefan Zweig’s Essay, “Books are the Gateway to the World”.

Not quite a refutation, but merely a protest — and perhaps a defense of illiteracy.  Zweig writes beautifully; persuasively; in colorful prose that captivates; in convincing form — if not in logical argumentation, but more as a poet who is convinced that words, books, literacy and the spread of the written word is indispensable to life itself.

He ends with this poetic flourish: “The more intimately the man associates with books the more profoundly he experiences the unity of life, for his personality is multiplied; he sees not only with his own eyes but with the countless eyes of the soul, and by their sublime help he travels with loving sympathy through the whole world.”

Who can argue with that?  Who can so poetically refute and rebut a sentence of such insightful beauty?  Yet, it is not with the argument for books and literacy that is objectionable, but rather, the notion that the man with whom he met and befriended but who is later found to be illiterate — that this rampage of sorrow and defense of literacy is at the expense of this unfortunate man.

Consider how he describes such a person: “He is walled in by himself, because he knows nothing of books; his life is dull, troglodytic (Definition: a “member of any of various peoples (as in antiquity) who lived or were reputed to live chiefly in caves” — i.e., “cavemen” or “cavewomen”).  And: “I was shocked to think how narrow the world must seem to the man who has no books.”

True, Zweig may have felt pity for his new-found friend, whom he previously described as a person who possessed a “genius for mimicry and caricatured everybody”, and whom he found fascinating and of enjoyable company — until, it turns out, that he discovered his illiteracy.

The essay ends without a conclusion; perhaps he took the time (without writing about it) with the friend and taught him how to read.  More likely, they went their separate ways — the other fellow pitied for the remainder of Zweig’s days, the author convinced that he was an individual to be pitied.  But that is the criticism to be posited, isn’t it?  That we make judgments without judging ourselves, and unjustifiably when we have the power to do something about the ills we encounter.

For Federal and Postal employees who have encountered that very circumstance — of facing judgments by others while nothing is being done — of a Federal Agency or the Postal Service that has determined that you are not worth “saving” because of a medical condition that now prevents you from performing one or more of the essential elements of your Federal or Postal job; it is then time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS.

Don’t wait around for help from your Agency or the Postal Service; it is likely that you will not receive it.  Instead, consult with a FERS Disability Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.  For, in the end, the decision to take the next step to “help yourself” will be up to you, and you should not consider the Federal Agency or the Postal Service to help you as your “friend” — leaving aside whether they will even feel a scintilla of pity for you; they won’t.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Desperation in a time of crisis

There is the crisis, perhaps born of a lingering problem allowed to fester and froth until the boiling point allowing for a simmering of persistent steam to rise and spill over; and then, of our reaction, our departure point where sanity and coherence become overwhelmed and replaced with a sense of doom.

We have all been through a crisis; it is part and parcel of a life lived; and though we never ask for it, it comes when least expected, when we are most vulnerable, and when we believe that we can no longer withstand the tornado of unbounded fury.

There have been moments where the crisis naturally passes, and we simply must await its presence and ultimate disappearance.  Then, there have been ones where we have the strength to muster, to counter and fight, and to overcome — and those are the ones where preparation in youth in replenishing and fortifying one’s strength of character and resolve allowed for the abundance of that inner reserve to take over, almost as if a transcendent, supernatural force took control and led one to greater heights of one’s capacity to withstand and defeat.

Then, at other times, where human strength alone may not have been enough, and it was the support of others — friends, family members, and even the family dog, who allowed one to survive and to continue on.  But it is the last within the list of responsive capabilities — where the crisis comes, and one’s sense of desperation in a time of crisis becomes apparent, and that is when the danger-point comes to the fore.

Desperation in a time of crisis is when one’s strength has been sapped; when the vulnerabilities are revealed like an open sore inviting infection to spread; and when no amount of support from family or friends can appease the soul of the epiphany of sorrow that will not be comforted and where the heaving sobs of despair cannot be stopped.  It is those times when some glimmer of hope must be shone, for it is desperation in a time of crisis that brings a person to the edge of the proverbial cliff, where the jagged rocks of life below foam with an unwary eye of remorseless undercurrent in dousing the flame of life’s gift.

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 one’s Federal or Postal job, it is important not to allow for the growing medical crisis to become a moment of desperation in the time of crisis.

Consult with an attorney who is experienced in OPM Disability Retirement Law; allow for the door of hope to remain open, and do not allow desperation in a time of crisis to defeat that which may yet have a solution; it’s just that you may not know about the solution, but consulting with a Specialist in the field of FERS Disability Retirement Law may be the pathway out of a misperceived situation of desperation in a time of crisis.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Fear of one’s shadow

What does that metaphor mean?  Perhaps to different people, different and varying things — of constantly being on edge despite nothing objectively to be anxious about; of fearing the worst around every bend and corner; of imagining impending doom despite the best of times; of never being able to enjoy that which has been attained or accomplished; and a multitude of similar circumstances that evoke an image of a person who remains in a perpetual flux of emotional turmoil.

Does this describe you?  Perhaps there is a reason — some Freudian abscess deep within the damaged psyche of an individual, unidentified and undetected, originating from a trauma experienced in childhood; or, he’s just a “nervous sort of fellow”.  Fear of one’s shadow is that person who expects the worst even within circumstances that highlight the best.  It is not just a lack of confidence, nor a pessimism that pervades against the reality of the illuminated world; rather, it is the expectation of disaster when reality fails to coincide with shadows that fail to appear even when all around you darkness dominates.

Perhaps we have done a disservice to this newest generation, and the one before, by always encouraging them with hope, never criticizing them, and allowing them to always think “positively” about themselves, their expectations and their future.  Then, when reality abuts against the expectation of anticipated success, this young generation falls apart and is inadequately prepared to handle failure.

Fear of one’s shadow is often the byproduct of an upbringing unprepared and unfortunately ill-prepared to become responsive to failures in life’s cycle of successes and failures.  It is, in many ways, a protective mechanism, where fear is the dominant factor in order to shield one from the reality of the world around.

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 one’s Federal or Postal job, the fear of one’s shadow may not be so unrealistic — especially as it concerns how the agency or the Postal Service will act, react, respond to or otherwise initiate sanctions, actions and administrative proposals if you fail to return to a previous level of productivity and attendance regularity.  For, in the end, the Federal Agency and the Postal Service are not in a protective role; rather, they are often the adversary that needs to be constantly reminded of “the laws” that protect and preserve human dignity and contractual responsibilities.

For Federal employees and Postal workers who need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, remember always that it is not one’s own shadow that needs to be feared, but rather, the looming figure behind your own shadow that may come unexpectedly to attack you, and that is why you need to consult with an experienced attorney in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement Law: Sifting

Life requires sifting through a sieve; otherwise, the unwanted and undesirable particles of coarseness and garbage will become part and parcel of the component of one’s daily living.

Have you ever watched how the screen picks up, prevents and protects against intruding contaminants attempting to interlope?  How dust sticks to likeness and filth collects upon kindred spirits?  Are we talking about particles and contaminants — or of humans by analogy and metaphor?  Those descriptions which fit the picture frame of sifting screens can certainly apply to life’s encounter with fellow humans; how we change filters, when, and to what degree, applies to human interaction, as well.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who engage the bureaucratic process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement through one’s agency, and ultimately with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, there is often a metaphorical sifting process which applies beyond changing the filter of one’s heating and cooling system.

It involves the prioritizing of important and significant issues; of whether work should prevail over health; of recognizing true friends and colleagues, of those who show loyalty beyond one’s contribution to the workforce and reveal an empathetic soul when needed; of securing future needs and differentiating between that which is necessary as opposed to sufficient; and in the end, of crystallizing human relationships, where the refractory nature of family, friendships and filial fondness may flower with a collage of hues and colors bending with the corridors of time.

Does all of that occur with merely filing for Federal Disability Retirement?  It is a difficult process, evolving through the origination of a medical condition, and it is often the time when triumph treasures the tragedy of origins, and where sifting of life’s undesirable particles begins.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Lawyer: Life’s Series of Decisions

As activity is the fingerprint of life, and inertia denotes death (or at least a somnolence of sluggishness), so the parallelism between thought and life follows the logic of movement versus progressive decomposition.  Thinking, according to Aristotelian tradition, constitutes the essence of human-ness.  Other species may have characteristics which define and distinguish; for the human animal, it is the process of thinking, or thought-engagement, which differentiates and identifies by uniqueness of quality.  Part of that cognitive process involves decision-making.

For all species, this cannot be the essence of being, because such a principle applies to every genus, lest we conclude that determinism is ingrained in one’s DNA.  Predators must decide when and upon what the advantage of a chase will result; frogs must affirmatively choose when to snap that elongated tongue in the split second of time to satisfy its appetite; and men and women must resolve issues short of confrontations engaged in a prior state of nature, to confirm that civilization is indeed a progression of culture and sophistication, and not based upon brute force.

The underlying principles, then, which distinguishes human decision-making from other species, must be some other component; perhaps that of the formulation of a paradigmatic criteria upon which an option is considered.

In the process of thoughtful decision-making, what criteria do we apply?  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Employee Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the criteria-based paradigm of choice-making may be limited:  You can remain within the inertia of present circumstances; you can walk away in order to “save” your health, while also partly engaging in the first option (i.e., change into the inertia of a different set of circumstances); or, you can file for Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits.

If the third alternative is the one opted for, then a series of additional questions and answers must be posed and resolved:  How many years of Federal Service; how long will the process take; what are the chances of success; will my doctor support me in this endeavor; and multiple other queries.  For some of these, further research and investigation will provide the answers; for others, seeking legal counsel, expert advice and general wisdom of experience will be helpful.

In the end, inertia should be disengaged, as lifelessness should never define the essence of a living being; and the thoughtless void which modern society and technological dominance tends to cower us all into, should be pushed back and resisted, like the days of yore of Masada and other uprisings which manifest the destiny of humanity, that life on any planet, Mars or Earth, is indeed a rarity even among a plenitude of apparent activity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Law: The Time In-Between, Afterwards

That time, as a historical event, is quite different from the retrospective vantage point of what we perceive today; and that is good to keep in mind.  After the event itself, the followers were not waiting around for the next event; rather, they were likely scrambling to determine what to do next, as they had no foresight of the coming circumstances, and thus did not consider themselves to be “in-between” two major historical pillars awaiting the next condition for completion.

In the aftermath, we can look upon it as a continuum, and view the time in between as one of anticipation and waiting; but from the real-time moment of the figures involved, the past trauma had already occurred; what was to come next could not have been known.  That is similar to how we live a life today.

For Federal and Postal employees who are anticipating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is a good lesson to view things in the “now”, as in-between, or afterwards, and from a later perspective.

Waiting upon a behemoth of a bureaucracy as that of OPM is never a pleasant experience, and one often feels like being in a suspended mode of administrative purgatory; and yes, there can be contingencies which must be first established before the next “move” in life can occur; but in the end, one should not wait upon the approval of a Federal OPM Disability application, but rather continue to pursue and build upon one’s life as in the aftermath of the occurrence. That is sometimes difficult to do, but necessary.

Waiting is often the hardest part; once the “happening” occurs, the tumult is released, and the Federal or Postal employee often feels that he or she is “set free” from the bonds of suspended time. But then, think about those followers of the fisherman who waited from that Friday until the morning when a seeming disaster turned into a triumph of historical proportions untold and unknown, at the time.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire