OPM Disability Retirement: Cycles of reality & unreality

The linear model of life is the preferred perspective for the Western world; the cyclical, for the traditional Eastern sector, as well as the indigenous cultures of the Americas; whether such an outlook alters the way in which we live is debatable.  In either or for both, however, it is the passing through of various realities and “unrealities” that is often overlooked, and not whether or not there is a straight and linear road as opposed to a cycle of returns and reenactments.

Reality is the being we encounter; unreality, the life within our minds and souls, depicted by thoughts, emotions, daydreams and nightmares.  How the two interact, whether in cyclical form or in a linear continuum, often defines how well we are able to adjust in maneuvering through the difficult passages of life.

We encounter “others” in the reality of our being; but as to the “other” person’s thoughts, feelings, history of life and other subjective issues, we know nothing about them except what we are told.  We could work beside another individual in an office setting and never truly know the “unreality” of his or her life, and when we retire, the office throws a party, and we depart and suddenly realize that the cycle of reality was a limited one, and the subjective unreality of another person’s life never really touched us.

Or, one is married to another for a decade, two decades, perhaps even three, and a cycle of reality is embraced where life becomes a routine, taking each other for granted through habit of form, monotony of repetition and predictability of actions.  Yet, after some decades, the significant other does something completely “out of character” – suddenly dyes his or her hair purple, goes bungee jumping or unannounced gets his or her nose pierced without telling anyone.  When asked, the reply is: “Oh, I got bored and decided to do something different.”

That is when the cycle of unreality suddenly surfaces into the boundaries of reality, and we suddenly realize, again and again, and are reminded fortuitously, that there is a subjective unreality that we can never quite pierce or fully comprehend, just as others cannot of our own.

That is what often happens with a medical condition.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are contemplating 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 question often asked is:  “When do I tell my agency”?  Isn’t that a peculiar question – as if no one at the agency knew or knows about your ongoing medical condition, and that filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM is going to be a complete surprise to everyone?

But that is, indeed, the reality of the unreal, where those around you are completely oblivious of the pain, the turmoil and the complications of those medical conditions you have had to deal with for so many years.  It is, in one sense, rather sad; but it represents the cycles of reality & unreality in an uncaring universe which prompts such an empty feeling when the question asked doesn’t quite have an answer to be given.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The numerical veil

Statistical constructs indicate group shifts and movements; numbers, based upon controlled samplings, provide the substantive fodder for analysis of trends and patterns of population deviancies.  There is, however, the question of the incommensurate nature between mathematical paradigms and linguistic application; stated more simply, Do numbers hide more than reveal, and can anything be extrapolated from them and interpreted in terms we can understand and comprehend?

To a winner of the lottery, the numerical phantasm “one in a billion” remains meaningless; and to the dismissive statistical irrelevancy stated in language more readily comprehended, that there is a greater chance of dying in an automobile accident than from a shark attack, becomes inconsequential and of little comfort if you are laying in a hospital bed with a good part of your flesh missing from such a traumatic event.  That’s the problem with numbers, of course, and the use, misuse and abuse of statistical analysis; in the end, it depends upon how it is used, the methodology of discourse, and the manner of application.

To be hit by lightening may well be more uncommon than death by drowning, but if your job is to be a caddy for an eccentric billionaire who enjoys golfing on days of severe weather patterns, the generalizations ascribed by comparative mathematical analysis may be somewhat skewed.  And, of course, for romance of young couples who scoff at divorce rates and patterns affirmed by celebrity lives and the cultural meltdown pervasive throughout, the lack of life experiences, the want of provocation through trials and turmoils yet to be encountered and not yet encumbering, allows for hope, charity and a sense of optimism despite the universe which surrounds of cynical diatribes.

We take comfort in the veil of numbers, precisely because we can manipulate them in the ways we want.  Facing a bleak outlook, we can justify resistance with a dismissive wave of the hand (or that invisible wand of magic and sorcery) and declare, “Well, the chances are…”  Numbers never tell of the human emotions and toil of reality; they remain as cold mathematical calculations, jiggered and manipulated by the picture of emotionless bureaucrats who wear spectacles to magnify the inconsequential harm imparted upon the lives left behind.

And for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management?  Such individuals, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, become part and parcel of the statistical conundrum who once had names, faces and identities, but somehow became relegated into the numerical aggregate of “those” people who departed by filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM, all because they could no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of the positional duties assigned.

Does such fear of becoming a mere irrelevancy of statistical obscurity make the Federal or Postal employee pause, despite the chronic pain or the psychiatric despondency which tells of the urgency to file for the benefit?  Probably.  Yet, beyond the numerical veil which hides, each Federal or Postal employee who departed and left behind such a statistical imprint, go on to live productive lives thereafter, with ongoing emotional ups and downs, as real people, living authentic lives untold by the hidden abyss echoing from the chambers of silent digits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement under FERS or CSRS: Hey, at least he has a nice hairstyle

Dismissing all substantive imperfections, the phrase connotes that which we are left with:  a trope of magnanimous inanity.  The classic scene, of course, if one’s memory serves one well (and, concurrently, if one wants to reveal the generation from whence one came), is where “The Fonz” in the popular but antiquated sitcom, “Happy Days,” enters the bathroom at the local diner, and as he is about to comb back his grease-filled hair, stops, pauses, looks again, then declares with but a barely intelligible word, confirming the picture-perfect reflection of the image in the mirror, affirming that no amount of further effort would improve upon an already self-evident apogee of creation.

There are, of course, numerous excuses in life, some valid, others derived from pure laziness.  Somehow, the linear perspective of historicity makes of us a frozen frame in time.  Whether the line of demarcation is upon graduation from high school, or a community college, or perhaps even upon being awarded a university degree; we think it is acceptable to stop growing, cease learning, pause further development.

Leisure is often the powder-keg which explodes; the essence of human nature as encompassing the character trait of laziness — but what does that really mean?  Does it imply and denote that there is a genetic predisposition to refuse further growth, or merely an observation that, given the bifurcated duality of false alternatives, most of us would choose the easier path with the least amount of resistance?

If the latter, then it is merely a harmless tautology of observation, for it is self-evident that work and toil, as opposed to pleasure and enjoyment, are the lesser models of preference.  Emergencies; crisis; traumatic events; these, of course, constitute an entirely different category, altogether.  And, in a greater context and larger perspective, one could argue that such intersecting and often interrupting life-events in fact spur greater growth and maturity, by the experience of encountering death, tragedy or tumults of great struggle and endurance against odds stacked against one.

Life is full of challenges, and having a medical condition is one of the greatest of all.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who struggle because of a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from continuing in one’s chosen career-path, and where preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes a necessity because of the inability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the endeavor to maintain a semblance of balanced perspective will often become a contentious force in and of itself.

It may sometimes seem as if the linear progression of one’s life has come to a stopping point, and that further growth is no longer possible.  Yet, the answer to a dilemma is often the process of the turmoil itself, and further growth and opportunity may be in some future arena yet unseen, after one has won an approval of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity and left the Federal or Postal workforce.

What one doesn’t want to do, is to remain stuck in a situation of stagnation, where all that one can look forward to on a daily basis is to hear a dismissive comment from the guy sitting next to you, who says, “Hey, at least he has a nice hairstyle.”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire