OPM Disability Retirement: If life were a story

Could the First Chapter be changed?  Who will write the final chapter?  Does memory serve the dictates of truth, or does a bit of “fudging” occur as with every narrative told, taking liberally the artistic license to its extreme?  Will it be a Dickensian opening or a Salinger’s scoffing of the details of birth?  What genre would be encompassed: Fiction; autobiography; Science Fiction; a Narrative Poem, perhaps?  Can fact and fiction be interwoven, and will the middle parts include characters long forgotten, and some individuals be left out deliberately just out of pure spite?

But that we could write the ending to our own story — of dreams that were fulfilled, loves that embraced, regrets that could be erased.  To that extent, every life would then be a work of perfection, where each chapter being written as the experience of this encounter with the world became an undifferentiated reflection of a phenomena encased in self-fulfillment: As life is lived, the story is written; as the story is told, life follows upon the very telling.

Isn’t that what “virtual reality” is; or even of being lost in one’s daydreaming, and wishing for things beyond the bubble of real life?  If life were a story and we were the authors, every dream would be fulfilled, every fantasy satisfied, every thought completed, and every sentence punctuated with exactitude.

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, the “life” that becomes the “story” is the completion of SF 3112A — Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

That is the narrative, or the slice and portion thereof, that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will be reviewing and analyzing, and perhaps even “picking apart” if it is not told persuasively, punctuated punctiliously, and provided with clarity of purpose.  It is, indeed, the story of one’s life — a slice thereof, but one which must be a narrative in response to specific questions posed by SF 3112A.

Consult with an attorney before formulating and narrating; for the next chapter beyond, after the Federal Disability Retirement application has been filed, will be determined by how one tells the story of one’s medical condition and the nexus with one’s employment capacity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The difficult good-bye

It is always difficult to say good-bye.  Whether of a long duration, or with a quick ending to an already fast-deteriorating relationship, the good-bye that brings sorrow, tears and a sense of unease is the one that once was never thought of.

Separating from loved ones; the end of a stay that may have begun with trepidation, hesitation or even loathing, but which turned out to be an embracing of past memories forgotten, revitalizing conversations and enlivening moments of collective reflections; or even of a chance encounter with someone, or with the lengthy last moments with a bedridden relative who wants the warmth of human contact nearby before departing into the netherworld through gates of wandering souls.

Whatever the circumstances, the good-byes we fear, the ones we think will be a relief, and even those that turned out to end merely with a half-hearted wave of the hand — it is the difficult good-bye that echoes within the hollow of one’s mind, squeezing between schedules full and memories touching upon a conscience that will not abide.

Careers have good-byes, as well, and not just between people; for it is the career that defines so much of who we are.  It is never just the “what do you do for a living” part of it, but the title that comes with it, the identity that is attached to it, the camaraderie that accompanies it and the past memories that haunt one; these are the cementing tributaries that form one’s personhood.

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, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the difficult good-bye is the one that separates the Federal or Postal employee from the Federal Agency or the Postal Facility — not necessarily because of the circumstances compelled by the medical conditions themselves (although that is admittedly difficult enough), but often because the job itself was and has been an integral part of one’s life, livelihood and identity, and because any change in one’s routine is hard enough.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is essentially saying good-bye to a good chunk of one’s daily routine of life and living — of spending about 50% or more of one’s life (including preparing for the day, commuting, doing work-related emails and similar activities, etc.) — and thus will be, even under the best of circumstances, a difficult separation and departing.

But always remember that the difficult good-bye is the one that retains an abiding meaningfulness within the souls of worthwhile characters, which then forms the seeds of hope for a future yet untold, as opposed to the half-hearted wave of the hand that dismisses so casually that we remember not even which hand with which we waved good-bye.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: The things we leave for repair

What we attend to immediately; that which we procrastinate, and set aside; and, finally, the things we allow to falter, to deteriorate in a progressive decline of disrepair — slowly eroding, perceptibly corroding, a sight for sore eyes, as the proverbial adage goes.  And what if it is ourselves?

Of course, the cosmetic and physical fitness industry have cornered the market and turned selfishness into a virtue, and self-love into a cottage industry; something akin to, “If you don’t love yourself, how can you love others?” (or some such parallel inanity of vacuous nonsense as that); or even a better one:  Persuade the populace to eat more sugars and processed food, then blame them for nationwide obesity while simultaneously hooking everyone on the technological steroids of smartphones, computers and the acceptability of being couch potatoes; make sports into a spectator sport, video gaming into a money-generating interest, and all the while, open the floodgates of information dissemination and tell everyone how intelligent they are, or could be, because you need not memorize any facts or have the capacity to engage in critical thinking; no, you can always Google it if you need to know, and oh, by the way, a handful of individuals, unnamed, will control the bias of information on the Internet, Facebook and Twitter from which your feeds of knowledge derive.

Slowly, incrementally, rust forms on the edges of that which we leave for repair, with the admonition that we’ll “get around to it“, that priorities overshadow for the time present; and when we have more “free time”, we will attend to it.  If we counted up all of the seconds, minutes and hours promised by a new invention or a technological innovation, the aggregate would surpass the number of hours in a single day, and we should all possess the wealth of unlimited time.  But rust in the glint of morning sunshine reflects a glow of beauty nestled in the quietude of timelessness; of those things we leave for repair, it is that growing beauty which reflects our diminishing selves.

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 all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties, the concept of leaving thing aside — important things — is well known and knowingly engaged.  For the work accomplished reveals the extent of self-denial; the “mission” of the agency, the volume of letters, parcels and packages to be processed at the expense of one’s own deteriorating health; the need to sacrifice for the good of the whole, at the expense of one’s own health.

In the end, for the Federal and Postal worker who comes to a point where 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, the things that were left for repair are those which needed most that neglected attention; for it is the “I” disregarded, the “me” left behind despite the self-identification of a named generation, and the hollow and gaunt eyes looking back from the mirror of time, where we keep “doing for others” when the one we forgot about in the collection and vast array of the things we left for repair, calls in a desperate cry for the tools left rusting in the untouched toolbox of an undetermined future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Of things (which should be) hidden

Perhaps it is a moment of repose, when relaxation allows for an unflattering silhouette or an act with hands which reach for things not publicly accepted; or of an insight into the depths of a soul, better left concealed, congealing unexpectedly before one’s eyes despite best or better attempts to suppress or repress.

We all assume certain aspects of a person’s life, and when they appear not within the slice of images presented to the public eye, we do not take notice because the presumption remains throughout.  Thus do bathroom scenes remain irrelevant throughout most of the history of film, and have only made their debut as titillating artistry masked as prurient creativity encroaches in subtle increments upon our sensibilities (with the obvious exception, of course, of Hitchcock’s scene of the curtained shadow).

Somehow, despite our incessant clatter of protestations to the contrary, the privacy of our lives become exposed and elevated to a pedestal of a declarative rumination, like the child-actor who accepts the adoration of public applause in place of the denied love of a parent.  The lowest of our essence tends to congregate in bunches of time, place and people; perhaps, as like attracts like, and similarities of venturesome teleologies aggregate for symbiosis of common causes, so the ugliness of humanity seems always to find its way where innocence abounds and the naive output is counterbalanced by the depravity of so many soulless zombies.

So it is in the workplace, where the ugliness of human character tends to reveal itself.  But that we wish for privacy, and for the sheer meanness of the human spirit to remain hidden.  The skin is an organ which covers, and for that we may be thankful — as the inner organs of man were never meant to be exposed for viewing where beauty is replaced with the stark reality of who we are.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must continue to go to work despite the deteriorating and progressive presence of 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 positional duties, the persistent exposure to things which should remain hidden, often becomes a constancy of unrelenting corridors of shame.

Just as divorce merely widens the microscopic fissures of that which the child already sensed, and the secrets leading to wars were already well-known by enemies and allies alike, so the facade which allowed for amiability and camaraderie suddenly crumbles, and the ugliness of humanity exposes itself.  Why is it that of those things once hidden, they suddenly become public and unconstrained?  And in the very midst of medical conditions and human plight which should engender empathy and consolation, the increase in harassment and progressive punishment exponentially facilitates.

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who finds him or herself in such a situation, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes not merely the least of options remaining, but the best alternative to a deteriorating circumstance.

And of those things which should have remained hidden?

Like vestiges of timeless reruns from an era veiled by innocence, the reels of fading images defy the reality of our day, and the best course of action is to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to OPM so that the escape hatch can invite a gust of fresh air where once the stuffiness of a stale and toxic environment was suffocating the very life out of our soulful existence.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire