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

 

FERS Disability Retirement: Recognition

At some point in one’s life, there is a recognition that a “gap” has been established between the dreams of one’s youth, the expectations of reality embraced in adulthood, and the lack of achievement one has attained in the final stages of one’s life.  It need not be a final moment of a gestalt-like profundity, where we suddenly realize with a declarative “Aha!” at some critical juncture in our life; rather, it can be a subtle realization over time, concluding with an expectation of acceptance, or of bitterness towards life’s unfairness.

Life is, indeed, unfair.  Two people can toil and sweat at one’s work and have starkly differing results.  One may become very wealthy; the other, constantly struggling just to live from paycheck to paycheck; and yet, the extent of cognitive or physical effort expended by each may be of little difference.  One may counter: It is not the effort expended, but rather, the value of the product or service offered.  But even that is not quite true, is it?

The classic example is the pay scale of a teacher — irrefutably of greater value than the sale of vehicles or mink coats, yet of relatively paltry return.  One never hears of a wealthy teacher; one hears of wealth attained through frivolous services based upon an idea engineered in the basement or garage of a computer whiz-kid.

Recognition is an important crossroads; of the disparity between what one expected and what one has achieved; of determining early on what is of value, of how one defines “success” as opposed to “failure”; and of resisting the idea that all of youth’s folly must be realized in order to be deemed a success, leaving aside whether success itself must be narrowly defined by a person’s pocketbook contents.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, there is often a necessary prerequisite of a recognition that one’s Federal or Postal career is over.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS is not, however, a recognition that one will never achieve or attain what one originally set out to do; rather, it is a recognition that there is life after a Federal or Postal career, and that the medical condition has merely revealed an incompatibility between one’s Federal or Postal position and the medical condition that one never asked for, but a reality with which one must deal with — a recognition itself that is an important first step.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement: The image we cling to

Whether of a “bad boy”, a “choir boy” and some other like, “He is such a quite, obedient and unassuming young lad,” or even, “She is a real go-getter” — whatever the image created, whether by our own manufacturing or by the reputation pasted upon by others, the image we cling to can remain with us such that it haunts and trails like the residue of those ghosts of Christmas past.

Are reputations and images one and the same?

They certainly cross over from border and fence to similar lines of demarcation, such that the jumble of what others say, think and believe about you are an admixture of one’s self-image, the reflection of how we think about ourselves and what we believe others believe about ourselves.  Changing the image we cling to is often difficult; believing in the change, nigh impossible and rarely achieved.

Whether from the incremental and sometimes insidious perpetuation from the subconscious destructiveness haunting one from a childhood past, or of reinforced negativity from bad parenting or abusive relatives, an image is a residue of a tapestry complicated by those unknown circuitry making up what is generically identified as one’s inner “conscious” life.

It is, as some philosophers would put it, the “ghost in the machine” — of that something “other” that eerily floats about above and beyond the collection of cells, genetic matter and neurotransmitters.  It is “who we are”, or more aptly, “who we think we are”.

For Federal and 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 image we cling to is often the one that prevents us from doing that which is best for ourselves.

We think of ourselves as hard-working, conscientious, never-a-slacker, and conflate that self-image with performance ratings, step-increases, promotions and awards, and it is that compendium of reputation-to-self-image that marks our downfall when a medical condition hits the brick wall of reality.

What are our priorities?  Do we cling to the images manufacture, at all costs — even to our own detriment?

Preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a silent admission that the image we cling to may not be the reality one hoped for; but to live in an alternative reality when one’s health is at stake, is to ignore the obvious, and to fall prey to the destructive tendencies of an uncaring world.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is not to destroy the image of ourselves that we cling to; rather, it is merely a recognition that we, too, are human and imperfect, and it is the shedding of perfection that is often the greatest problem we face.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Latent dignity

There are people who, by their very carriage, command respect and deference; it is like the royal crest without intimate knowledge of lives or spoilage in whispers behind shuttered windows – it is just presumed.  Does man possess a latent dignity beyond the carrion of an eagle’s flight?  Are we, indeed, just below the angels, and above the fray of predatory delights?

Ah, but lest we forget the devastation wrought upon the concept of man, history and the inheritance of lineage, when materialism became the birthright of man and the genetic predisposition as espoused by the paradigm proffered by Darwinism became the penultimate penumbra of the image we carry forth of ourselves; and when we discarded faith in angels, affinity to the noble character of man, and association in the exclusive club of rationality as the essence of being – once these were ignored, dismissed and derided, then we refused the rightful inheritance of our rich ancestry.

Of what dignity, latent or expedient, may we claim, now?  How, and with what birth right, can we stake the soul of a mere mortal who reaches as the epitome of being nothing more than the cadaver upon which vultures feed?  Once discarded, the metaphysical lineage of man disappears, and any transcendence of being – whether of the three parts of the soul or even the road to Mecca – they have been forsaken for the eternal gluttony of human appetite.

Once, when wars were fought not for oil nor the glory of mercenary satisfaction, but words of honor and fidelity, for family, country and salvation of souls; and not of mere seedlings left for others to starve upon, but for things we once believed in, had faith of, and sought the worth of sacrifice in a universe otherwise left to others and countless ineptitude of bureaucratic morass.

There was, once upon a time, a story for mythology to fill; for giants to slay, dragons to conquer, and pathways to forge without fear of retribution.  But, somewhere along the way, something strange happened; we lost faith, left behind tradition, and allowed the foolishness of youth to prevail and rule upon the rationality of man’s heritage.  Beauty was accepted as the glamour of a television show; substance was interpreted as a funny one-liner on a late-night comedic episode; and instead of Western Civilization’s tradition of gratitude, humility and love of neighbor, we were suddenly left with nothing more than the emptiness of materialism and the promise of nothing more than death, decay and an unmarked tombstone with etched markings which merely revealed the beginning of life and the end of living.

In what promise, then, do we knock upon the door for that latent dignity we define as man?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from engaging in that most meaningful of projects – one’s career, work and vocation of choice – because of the very medical condition itself, there comes a time when the harassment, intimidation and demeaning conduct perpetrated by the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service must be stopped.  Sometimes – and often enough – that plan of stoppage can only be sought and embraced through the effective preparation, formulation and filing of a 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.

Only by moving beyond the arena of demeaning venues of life can we attain a status and stature of latent dignity; for, it becomes clear in this age of modernity, that such dignity is no longer latent, but remains for the individual to assert and declare, and not allow the silence of the lambs to drown out the pureness of one’s soul.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employees Disability Retirement System: The Stradivarius

It has come to represent a superlative; a standard of excellence which cannot be exceeded, and considered as the penultimate achievement beyond which only angels and heavenly bodies can ascend to, or hope to touch like the light mist of dawn slowly rising to the tips of the alps wrapped in the greenery of nature’s untouchable paradigm.

The history of related intrigue is without match, as well; of the secrets protected within the family of instrument makers; of smugglers and thieves and the attempts by collectors to preserve the remaining authenticity of those made by the master of violins; and the keen eye ever wary of impostors and counterfeiters.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering 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, it would be well to always keep the symbol of excellence in mind, as the goal to achieve.

The shabbiness of putting forth a half-hearted attempt at anything is demeaning; an achievement through error or accident is rarely of any consequence; but by reaching a height of excellence within the context of suffering from a condition which impacts one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, is to recognize the worth of one’s capacity to still maneuver the winding complexities of this confounding world.

The gathering of proper medical documentation; the clarity of expounding the necessary bridges and legal argumentation in compiling an effective OPM Disability Retirement application; these all need to come together, like the master’s hand in constructing an instrument of heaven’s whispers.  The daunting task of facing a bureaucracy can always be disheartening; the goal of achieving a successful outcome, however, should always be the eye which guides, and excellence the key to that endeavor.

For the Federal and Postal employee who wants to file for Federal Disability benefits through OPM because one’s Federal or Postal career has now come to an end, the final step in creating the music of an orchestrated exit should be to ensure the excellence of an OPM Disability Retirement application, in order to step into the next phase of life, and to achieve the subsequent future for a Stradivarius achievement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire