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

 

 

OPM Disability Retirement from Federal Government Employment: The broken record

Does the metaphor have any meaning for modernity, anymore?  Those discs made of shellac resin or vinyl, pressed into magical ridges where the needle would remain stable but for the warbling of the maze; but somehow that circular maze of ridges would have a scratch, directing the point of the needle to continue back into the previous ridge just traveled, like the lost child who cannot see beyond the walled ivy and keeps running frantically in circles, exhausted by the endless infinity of a pathway unable to be traversed beyond the limitless circularity of a philosopher’s argumentum ad nauseum, where tautology of teleology is likened to the boulder being pushed by Sisyphus.

But what of the individual who has never experienced the encounter with a broken record – neither in real life, nor in watching a movie or other inane television show where the manual labor of carefully lifting the needle by the undercarriage of a forefinger, then placing it gently onto the groove closest to the condemned one, possesses no contextual significance because of a lack of knowledge?

Those who have been dated by “aha” responses to such metaphors, take for granted such commonplace declarations; and when we meet with blank stares and confused eyelids, it dawns on us that there is no replacement for an actual experience of descriptive content.  For, the efficacy of the idiom itself is immediately lost upon an attempt to explain:  “You know, when a record starts to…”

And what of times previous to the introduction of the gramophone (boy, now we really are reaching back into time) – did the men and women from an era now past have such peculiar dialects that described repetitive droning of whining and complaining?  Was it something akin to, “Stop acting like a baying hyena,” where pioneers settled lands still dominating with lurking cries of wildlife and unsettled voices?

And what of foreign lands – countries afar and across the great oceans – did they recognize and identify the relevance of the repetition emitted by the spherical looping back upon a scratched surface, or was it ignored in other dialects as a ho-hum matter not worthy of creating a modern-day idiom to be added to the dictionary of everyday expressions?

The metaphor of the broken record is one whose utility has long passed; but for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition has become a chronic state of inability in performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the underlying and substantive content of the intersection with one’s career and life, remains relevant.  For, to the Agency, the U.S. Postal Service and the Supervisors, Managers and coworkers with the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal worker – they view such chronic medical conditions like a “broken record” – of a fellow Federal or Postal worker who cannot “carry his or her” weight, anymore, and begins to treat the “situation” accordingly.

Human empathy lasts barely for a day; pernicious antagonism continues well beyond.  When it becomes clear that the Federal or Postal employee will no longer be able to abide by the conventions of the Federal or Postal rules, and others begin to view the use of Sick Leave, assertion of FMLA and constant need to shift workloads to others as acts to be punitively responded, it is time to consider preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in order to have that undercarriage lifted and placed gently onto the next ridge of one’s life, in an effort to avoid the metaphor of being a broken record.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: What we believe

Belief is a funny animal.  So long as what one believes is never uttered, one can change them from day to day, or even from one hour to the next, without consequences attached.  Of course, you can do that, anyway, and many do in this day and age.  Once spoken, however, a belief takes on the figurine of a furnace-fired ceramic piece; to change is safe only in engaging the linguistic language-game with those who never heard of the belief, but there is a danger that such third parties could report back to the first party to whom the belief was conveyed.  Then, of course, there is the potential charge of hypocrisy.

On the other hand, there is always the disarming disavowal that it was all merely a “misunderstanding”, or perhaps that the other person didn’t get the “nuance” of the utterance; or the catch-all detachment:  “I was joking”.  Facts, of course, can alter beliefs, and that is supposedly acceptable because one has evolved through maturation of knowledge (unless, of course, you are running for political office, in which case you are reserved the allowable space to maintain the cognitive bifurcation like a schizophrenic, concurrently holding a “private belief” while concomitantly stating a “public stance” on certain sensitive issues).

Further, beliefs can become transformed via genetic, life-stage or “aha”-moments; the first because of some recognition that the wired-DNA that constitutes the “real” self has finally been revealed; the second, because there are recognized stages of living – of those prepubescent years, of middle-aged crisis and menopausal breakdowns, or in the end, just because a spouse and his or her lifetime commitment “grew apart”; and the third, by religious conversion and the “road to Damascus” experiences which allegedly justify a transcendent transformation.

In many ways, they are like opinions, though purportedly of a higher order.  Of opinions, it is often said that we all have them – of no greater consequence than the urgency to utilize the bathroom, with the latter having greater significance than the former; but of beliefs, they were once contingent upon study, reflection, coherence and rational methodology.  Somehow, in the linear progression of Darwinian evolution, the higher order of thought processes lost its way, and the meandering of human folly became the prominence of epic conundrums.

We have come to a point in human history where, what we believe is of an irrelevancy based upon our lost hope in discarding reverence.  For, the “what” must have a prefatory methodology, and that foundation was the reverence for creation.  We no longer believe “in” anything, because we no longer have any faith in anything of consequence.  Without awe, the human factor of hope, and therefore of belief, becomes a vacuity of thoughtlessness.  As all of creation is constituted by material equivalence, so our beliefs are of no greater worth than the gaseous ethereality emitted from the guy sitting on the next stool.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition may necessitate filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the loss of belief is an important factor to recognize – for, the one saving constancy throughout is that there still remain “laws” which people, agencies and even the U.S. Postal Service must abide by.

Adherence to the law is often the only saving grace in the craziness of this world, and knowing it, applying it and arguing it in meeting the preponderance of the evidence test, is the best way to avoid that catch-all dismissive, that it is all merely “your opinion” as opposed to “my belief”, when in fact pointing out the precedential case-law and arguing the statutory basis is precisely what is needed to get beyond the irreverent assertion of that which we believe.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS: The carefully crafted life

But that we could just write the narrative of our life, reflecting briefly upon our past, describing the present condition of being, but most importantly, to carefully craft the anticipated future of our lives in process.  What is revealed from one’s past is telling of a person’s character; of the present, a manifestation of the compass of one’s heart; and to the narrative of one’s future?  If the cultivation of one’s soul is the essence of the teleological process of life, the content of what we insert into the delineated poetry of future actions will uncover the truth in being of our damaged and tortured souls.

Would the script include fame and fortune?  Encounters with the common and ordinary, or of the arrogant dismissal of all but the beautiful and fortunate?  Would money always be written into the narrative of a future life, or ignored and instead replaced by peculiarities of fantasies, such as time travel, the ability to fly, or defiance of mortality and vanquishing of fear?

What one wishes for, like the genie who grants the dreams of youth, casts aside the veil we walk about with, and reveals all.  But the operative concept often overlooked is not about a crafted life; rather, that “extra” descriptive adverb which denotes painstaking caution and conscientious execution:  How does one “carefully” craft a life?  For, when wishes are offered and granted without constraint, the crafting itself becomes cast away as a mere byproduct and of irrelevant concern, like the human detritus flung out from a window of a speeding car down the highway of reckless disregard.

The care that one takes in crafting a life — now, that is an undertaking few of us attend to, despite every opportunity at every turn in the linear sequence of even the ordinary life of an individual.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, of course, 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 the Federal or Postal employee’s positional duties, that opportunity is offered in a limited and defined manner — in the form of 2 pathways.

First, by being required to write one’s narrative on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability (where the Federal or Postal employee must describe, delineate and prove a sliced portion of one’s life concerning the medical condition and its impact upon one’s capacity and ability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job); and Second, by preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application and submitting it through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset — thereby formulating the narrative which will determine the future course of one’s life and livelihood.

No, in either case, the Federal or Postal employee will not be able to receive a genie’s grant of unfettered wishes and requests; but that was always the thoughtless residue of a childhood fantasy, anyway.

For, in the end, the carefully crafted life is not one which has any room for the misspent daydreams of a forlorn childhood; rather, the truly substantive content of a carefully crafted life necessarily involves the Triumvirate of the T:  Trials, Triumphs, and some sprinkling of Tragedies; just refer back to Shakespeare, or of Milton and Melville; anything else was merely the storybook fairytales of a bygone memory left behind in the dustbin of a forgotten era.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Federal Medical Retirement Help: Paroxysm of Fate or Faith

Of the former, it forces us within that fitful slice of time to endure the determined events beyond our control; and as to the latter, it does almost the very opposite:  it grants us a reprieve of sorts, and draws us into the delusional universe of believing without cause.  Causation is indeed the harbinger of validity and scientific accountability; whether and by what means the short-lived fit of revelatory insight occurs, the paroxysmal opening of one’s eyes to the reality of a matter can result in truth unveiled, or falsehood concealed.

We tend to live life like that; one moment, we sigh and throw up our hands to the gods of determinism and complain that we have no control over whence we came, the essence of our present being, and where the journey will take us; and in the very next instant, we fervently believe that if only we were to make our urgent pleas more loudly known, our very belief would impart the causation of a cold and impervious universe to move mountains and shift the tectonic forces of nature’s aplomb.

Man — that animal half caught between instinct and rationality, betwixt carnivorous vengeance and civility with a clink of teacups; yet, subject to the whims of gods and determinism.

Medical conditions will often exacerbate that tendency towards the extreme of one side of the spectrum or the other; tendencies tend to magnify when the human condition deteriorates.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact and influence the ability and capacity of the Federal or Postal employee to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, it is important to maintain an equilibrium of sorts.

Medical conditions, by their very nature, will often skew the linear reality of a situation, and therefore it becomes important to seek out advice, counsel and wisdom in determining the best course of actions to undertake for securing one’s future and stability.

Federal and Postal employees, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, need to take care not to allow themselves to wither and bend by the vicious winds blown thoughtlessly by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, and instead to retain that balance of foresight, between the paroxysm of fate and that of faith, and instead to partake in the essence of the angels above, and not the imprints of our animalistic past, in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application for submission to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire