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: 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

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The key to happiness

There are countless titles of books which predicate upon the presumptuous endeavor; palm readers who, for a prepaid fee, make their living from it; and wanderers who trek the Himalayas in search of it.  Others merely change the definition or meaning of what constitutes the achieved goal, or drink themselves silly when self-deception fails to fulfill.

The problem with happiness is that it was once a byproduct of our lives; when it became the end-goal, the very nature and essence of it became unachievable.  It is when a singular focus upon an effect becomes the sighted destination to reach, that the frustration of unrealistic expectations come to the fore, and dismay and doubt of self becomes the mainstay.  Happiness was never meant to be a constancy of one’s trophied achievement; rather, it is a secondary effect as the residual of an accomplished life.  Frustration thus dawns upon us because the fleeting aspect of its very nature is never within one’s control.

For the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from an ongoing medical condition, such frustration of purpose is self-evident on a daily basis, especially when one plays the never-ending game of, “If only X…”  For, the contingent precedent is never within the grasp or control of the injured Federal or Postal Worker, or one who is beset with progressively debilitating medical conditions.  Federal Agencies and the U.S. Postal Service make it their job to obfuscate, place obstacles, and ensure the daily denial of accommodations, and flout their open disregard of the laws and protections allegedly designed for Federal and Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition.

Often, in life, there are limited choices; but the options we choose are the known pathways to happiness.  Loss of it, or the denial of the effect, comes about when we rely upon those things which are beyond our control, and expect others to “do the right thing“.

For the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker who suffers 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 key to happiness is to take affirmative steps in taking charge of one’s own life.  Beginning the process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a pragmatic step which one can actually quantify with respect to the progress made towards a goal defined.

Purchasing another book with the word “happiness” in it will be to waste another dollar; identifying those issues within the purview and control of one’s destiny is a greater investment in achieving a realistic goal defined, so that one day, when the whispers of past days of dark and dismal hauntings are remembered from a place afar, the vestiges of unhappiness will merely be a faint echo in the peaceful slumber of one’s joyous summers yet to be dreamed.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Subtle Warnings

Subtlety is not an inherent trait of the American psyche.  As pragmatism and materialism dominates the prevailing thought-process, the capacity and ability to recognize and act upon indirect signs and hints is underdeveloped and considered a disadvantage.   From recognizing the early warning signs of a medical condition, to responding to an agency’s initiation of adverse administrative proceedings, the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker is marked for his or her naive forthrightness.  Thus the recurring quip:  “Why can’t they just come right out and say it?”

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the need to recognized and act upon subtle warnings becomes a necessity crucial for survival.  Timeliness matters; planning for the future requires a thoughtful recognition of harbingers of hazards.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal Service worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often like the childhood game of  “cat and mouse”.  As a game involving constant pursuit, avoidance of capture, near-misses and resumption of pursuit, staving off administrative sanctions, actions and similar initiations of contrivances by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service while the Federal or Postal employee is awaiting a decision by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is simply part and parcel of this complex process involving a burdensome bureaucracy.

Filing early for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is often the key; ignoring those subtle warning signs, both about one’s own medical condition as well as the underlying substratum of intentions as indicated by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, is to disregard the inevitability of life and its complexity of meanings.  For, in the end, that which is subtle must unravel and manifest, but it is the one who first senses the forewarning of fate who ultimately can control one’s destiny and divert from the determinism of fatalism.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: From Whence We Came

It is often quipped that the advantage of human psychology is in our short memories; otherwise, we would walk around with greater angst than we deserve.  The accomplishments achieved; the accolades left unstated; perhaps in menial tasks or ones of recognized significance; but in any event, a career, all told, which spans a decade or more, will always have a sense of achievement, if only for the steadfastness of commitment itself.

In this day and age, where millennials change jobs as often as infants of diapers, the career of a Federal or Postal worker which spans multiple decades is an anomaly itself.  Whether the goal was to make that 30 years, or simply because the Federal or Postal employee liked what he or she was doing, matters not.  Commitment in and of itself is an achievement.  Thus, when a Federal employee’s or a U.S. Postal worker’s career is cut short because of a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates the filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the regrets foretold or the dismay of a career cut short, should always be replaced with memories from whence we came.

Staying with a Federal or Postal job for so many years reveals a steadfastness of purpose; but where priorities intersect and interrupt, especially when it comes to one’s health and future security, filing for OPM Medical Retirement benefits is meant to salvage such a Federal career by allowing for an annuity to stabilize one’s future, and to consider taking that experience one has amassed into the private sector for a possible second vocation.

Memories; they are funny animals; and for humans, allows for visualization and imagination from whence we came.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire