Medical Retirement under FERS: Revisiting Updike

He wrote about mundane things; of middle class neighborhoods, Pennsylvania towns in which he grew up; farmlands before strip malls replaced them against the skyline of cornfield rows; and of affairs that grew naturally out of a revolution emancipated from the Sixties; of quiet sufferings and the rhythmic monotony of ordinary lives.

John Updike was an “in-betweener” — too young to fight in WWII, too old to have been drafter for the Vietnam debacle; and so he experienced the quietude and normalcy in between the two bookends of this country’s tumult and trials.

Updike was a voice for generations who saw the post-war era, of baby-boomers and American prosperity at its zenith; of the loss of any normative confluence of moral dictum and the abandonment of constraints once imposed by Protestantism.  All, of course, with a twinkle in his eye and a ready smile.  The Internet abounds with photographs of this uniquely American author — almost all with that thin smile as if he was about to share a private joke.

The Tetralogy of the Rabbit novels (actually a quintet if you include the last of the series, a novella entitled “Rabbit Remembered”) evinces a country gone soft after the harsh period of the Great Depression, the Second World War, the Korean conflict and the Vietnam era that undermined the ethical mandates known for generations before, unleashing a liberty of hidden sins like a bubbling cauldron of untamed desires.  But in the end, he is best known for the mundane, the ordinary, and how life in the suburbs of a prosperous nation left an emptiness unspeakable except by a voice given in narrative brilliance, from an author who was a regular contributor to The New Yorker.

Somehow, he made the ordinary seem exciting, even relevant.  By contrast, modernity has focused upon the rich and famous, and of greater unreachable glamour where perfection surpasses pragmatism.  Updike was able to make the commonplace seem important, the ordinary appear significant and the monotony of the mundane as not merely prosaic.  And isn’t that all that we seek, in the end?

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 loss of relevance, the ordinary and the commonplace is what often scares the Federal or Postal employee.

The job itself; the career; the monotonous routine of going to work, yet finding relevance in the act of “making a living” — these were all taken for granted in Updike’s short stories.  That other stuff — of infidelities and dalliances — were a deviation that Updike tried to point out as mere fluff in otherwise ordinary lives; and of medical conditions, they upend and disrupt the normalcy we all crave.

Federal Disability Retirement is a means to an end — of bringing back balance within a life that has become disrupted, but it is a way to bring back order where disruption to the mundane has left behind a trail of chaos.  And to that, the twinkle in Updike’s eyes and the thin smile would tell us that he would approve of such a move which will return you back to a life of mundane normalcy.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The memory of greener pastures

Are memories faulty, and are they so for a purpose?  Does the human psyche selectively extrapolate the positive and repress the negative precisely in order to preserve an optimism that will incentivize survival?  If our memory banks retain a pessimism such that the overload of negative images cumulatively dominates, wouldn’t the subtle forces of depression set in to overwhelm us?

The memory of greener pastures — are they true in an objective sense, or only in the selective and myopic perspective that has filtered the negation of subjective desires?  Was childhood as innocent as we remember?  Were the ice cream cones on a hot summer’s day better then, and the wintry winds of Christmas Eve so filled with anticipation of glee that yesterday’s joy was tenfold the truth of untold lies?

We do tend to remember the summers of yesteryear, and of thinking that the lights across the street glow a warmth of love and fidelity; and yet, we know that the room within which we stand is likely a reflection of a reality no lesser, nor no greater, than the greener pastures across the way.  Except when a medical condition hits us.  Then, the memory of greener pastures always reflect the “before” — before the condition worsened; before it began to impact my work; before it became a chronic condition.

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 often the memory of greener pastures that finally prompts the Federal or Postal employee into preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under FERS.

For, the greener pastures that once were can still be those of tomorrow, but only if the focus of one’s life can attend first to the medical condition itself, without the greater burden of work and the harassment and constant hostility of the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

To preserve and hold sacred the memory of greener pastures is to prioritize the things that we hold dear and important, and one’s health should be at the top of the list of such priorities.  Protect it by preparing, formulating and filing an effective FERS Disability Retirement application, to be filed through OPM so that those memories of greener pastures in yesteryear’s childhood joys will not be subsumed by the worries of one’s deteriorating future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement from OPM: Holding a grudge

Doesn’t holding a grudge imply a certain level of intelligence?  Do other species have the capacity for holding a grudge?  Certainly, some breeds of dogs do — of getting into a growling match, or one of those “baring the teeth and gnarling sounds”, but with very little harm done; but if it is not “finished”, will come back and engage in some more noisy combat until one or the other is satisfied that neither a grudge nor a kiss will any longer be necessary.

“Having a grudge” can last a moment or a lifetime; “Holding a grudge” is comprised of the tenure of the grudge being held, and not as to its intensity of feeling.  Some grudges may be sweet and delicious; others, a gnawing sense that does greater harm to the holder than to the one for whom it is held.  There is, in the end, a difference between a grudge and a sense of resentment, although the former may include the latter, but the latter does not necessarily entail the former.  Siblings and best friends are famous for holding grudges; it reveals the level of hurt and care that becomes deep-seated when once betrayal cuts and bruises.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is often an easy path to find oneself on where one was once the Federal Agency’s “star employee”; then, a medical condition sets in, and suddenly the congratulatory accolades become silent, and unilateral actions are taken by the agency which begins to foment resentment…and a growing “grudge match” begins.

Administrative sanctions are imposed; a PIP is initiated; perhaps, even removal from Federal Service.  Yet, all along, you are thinking: “I have a medical condition; why are they treating me this way?”  Grudges, indeed, often are held because of mistreatment or maltreatment; and it is often worse when there is no face or name to be placed with the grudge, but merely a large Federal Agency or the Postal Service that cares not a twit about your medical condition.

The best thing to do in such circumstances is to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and “move on” beyond the sense of resentment and grudge-holding that can destroy a life further than the medical condition itself.  Yes, holding a grudge does imply a certain level of intelligence, but to hold one for too long shows a significant level of stupidity, as well.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Reference points

They are the connections by which a society maintains a fabric of commonality, whether by myths, narrations of stories handed down, religious knowledge or books and movies.  It used to be that the “Good Book” was the mainstay of the reference points, so that when a person referred to having “eaten the apple”, for a simple example, one immediately knew that the reference points between a sin committed and the origin of that sin had a commonality within a woven fabric of a community’s awareness.

Similarly, people used to refer to books – of classics and works which were generally read and assumed, and when a person made a literary reference in the course of a conversation, it was not to be presumptuous of one’s education or knowledge, but as a “reaching out” in order to establish a membership in the fabric of the greater community.  The expansion of choices, the division of classes within a society, and the fraying of that greater fabric of a society’s common interests – they are all indications of a disintegrating civilization.

Reference points were once assumed; today, they have become rarer; and as the younger generation moves on in concentric circles of technological advancement that become lost in the self-absorption of self-promoting images on Internet-based social forums, so reference points become less common except within the self-contained genres of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds.

Of course, there have always been problems with various reference points – one being the reference point of a medical condition.  For, a person with a medical condition has the private reference point of pain and suffering, and the long stays at a hospital, or the constant visits to the doctor’s office – reference points that few at the office ask about, let alone know about in any detail that would bring about any sense of empathy.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers are often the greater culprits of maintaining private reference points, because they continue to push themselves through the pain and agony of a medical condition without complaining, and so there is very little reference point by which coworkers can offer sympathy, empathy or any help at all.

Fortunately, 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, does not need any reference points, other than the legal criteria by which one must meet the eligibility reference point.  For, ultimately, the final reference point that the Federal or Postal worker needs, in order to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is the one that establishes that the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, and that is the only reference point that matters.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The perfect person

By all accounts, he or she doesn’t exist, except perhaps in theoretical constructs of theological paradigms; and of academia, where one may argue some alternate version of Anselm’s argument by positing that, because the concept of perfection could not be thought of without the reality of a Being constituting perfection, ergo a perfect Being – God – must by necessity exist.

Yet, we live “as if” the perfect person exists – either imposing such a standard unknowingly, unwittingly and unwillingly upon our own selves, or by thinking that movie characters actually exist somewhere in the ephemeral world of Hollywood, Instagram and Facebook concoctions that only put forward to the public’s eye the image of perfection.

We overlook the distorted concept of perfection when we say of a movie character, “Oh, he’s not perfect; he drinks too much, cheats on his spouse and is violent.”  Yet, the make-believe character still solves the mystery, is philosophically coherent when drunk, and somehow remains an attractive character despite all such character flaws.  In other words, despite the appearance of flaws, we make gods of characters we create.

It is the same on the Internet – despite the knowledge by all that there does not exist the perfect person, nevertheless, we allow for Facebook postings and Instagram photographs of meals, dogs, kids, families, selves and neighborhoods as the perfect depiction of unblemished lives.  And of ourselves, perhaps the greatest of culprits alive – for perpetuating the mythological depiction by engaging in the flim-flam of projecting the existence of the perfect person.

Yet, what is the alternative?  No one wants to hear the perpetual whining of the constant apologist – that person who points out his own failures and shortcomings at the drop of the proverbial hat; of he who apologizes for the slightest of errors, the scent of a mistake and a hint of failure to reach perfection.  Name a movie character or a movie, excepting a comedy, where the character is merely a bundle of imperfections and unattractive to boot.  Even Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther series, played long ago by Peter Sellers and by others more recently, captured the culprit in the end, despite all of the blunders and pitfalls.

In the end, we all participate in the grand larceny of perpetuating the existence of the perfect person – until we are hit with a medical condition, and the façade then suddenly falls apart.  Yet, everyone else continues in the charade.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who can no longer keep up with the make-believe world of the perfect person because of a medical condition, where the medical condition prevents the appearance of the perfect person to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, it may be time to admit imperfection by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted ultimately to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the imperfect Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

For, in the end, it is the perfect person who embraces the imperfection of this world, and that is at least a beginning for the Federal or Postal employee who must continue to face the Federal Agency or the Postal Service in facing the reality of living imperfectly in this all too perfect universe.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Disability: The constant fight against the negative

There are different ages in different times, designated by the dominance of one entity over another. Thus do we refer to the “Age of Dinosaurs”, or the “Ice Age”; the Age of Feudal Lords; the Age of Man, of course, is a general aegis under which everything falls, once the four-peddling quadrant of living beings became dominated by the bi-pedaling progenitor of carnivorous over-consumption that prevails from time immemorial to the present “age”.

Modernity had now become the “age of therapy”, where somehow psychiatry and therapeutic intervention has come to dominate the basic necessities of life.  Perhaps that is appropriate, as the daily stresses that govern the requirements of survival have mandated a vicious cycle of inestimable pain, both in terms of physical deterioration and cognitive dissonance, by placing an intolerable level of stresses upon daily living.

It is this constant fight against the negative that we are told, holds the key to a “happier” life.  Can change in perspective, of outlook and viewpoint, simply by inserting “positive” language games into the daily soliloquy of internal voices make such a difference?  If language were non-existent, and we became a species of grunts and grumbling noises (which, if you pause and listen around you, comprises much of what passes off as “conversation”, anyway), would we be anymore “positive” than what we are today?

What if the human vocabulary were to be reduced to only positive declaratives and adjectives that only revealed “good” things – would such expunging of negative concepts result in the net effect of everyone “feeling good”?  Or, does “feeling” precede language, such that one can be negative in one’s essence before expression of that negativity, such that thoughts are merely the natural consequence of a state of negativity, anyway?

Medical conditions tend to make liars of us all; for, we can go through life imagining that we are somehow the “exception”, and those “others” who are beset with medical conditions did something “wrong” to have been hit with a medical condition – until it happens to us, as well.  Suddenly, with the reality of pain, suffering, and the general human condition of illness, sickness and debilitating injury, we realize our mortality, our susceptibility to a viral plague, and our fragile existence.  How others view us also changes.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the constant fight against the negative become a daily struggle that often takes its toll, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may become a necessary next step in such a daily struggle.

The constant fight against the negative, itself, will have its impact, and it may be that the combination of the medical condition, the adversity shown by the Federal agency or Postal facility, and the negative internal thoughts that insidiously devalue and destroy, will come to a coalescence of intolerable stress.  When that happens, it is time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, as another step in the constant fight against the negative.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The character of each day

What does the day bring?  Do we awaken, put our finger up to the winds of time or the breeze of the day and ask that question before getting up, dressing and opening the door into a world beyond that may or may not fulfill the promises we believe to be granted?  Or, regardless of the indications, the barometers that forewarn or the compass that fails to direct, do we nevertheless move forward and tackle the challenges faced or otherwise deliberately and willfully avoid?

Does it make a difference, in an “objective” sense, whether we consult the horoscope or check the biodynamic calendar to see if it is an “unfortunate” day to engage in this or that activity; or to stay away from groups of people identified by certain signs or symptoms, revealed or otherwise concealed?

What determines the character of each day – the world at large, the elements within, of the person who steps out into the world?  Or, like the old puzzle that even the Sphinx could not answer, is it by genetic dominance, predetermination and the innate structure of our DNA, or the environment that one is brought up in that forms and conforms the individual personality, content and essence of an individual?

It is always interesting to observe the ritualistic tendencies of each individual that one engages in before battling the turmoil of the day’s challenges; whether one exercises before or after; does eating a meal energize or bloat; are there superstitions embraced before the car door is opened and shut and the engine of time begins the day; these and more determine the character, for many, of each day.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who must by necessity battle with the medical condition unasked for, unsolicited and without regard to a choice of superstitions allowed, the character of each day has already been somewhat determined.  The only question remaining is, can you endure the harassment from the job, the lack of respect and the constant undermining of accommodations requested by forging forward despite the lack of character in others already shown each day, or is it time to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset?

Sometimes, the character of the each day is determined not so much by the content of one’s own inner strength, but by the lack thereof in others, and that is something that you cannot do anything about except to “move on” and leave behind the Federal agency or the Postal facility that fails to show any character at all, each day or any day.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire