Postal & Federal Disability Retirement: Meaning & work

A book of very recent vintage, written by an anthropologist, uses an 8-letter epithet in its title.  While it is always dangerous to refer to something without having read it, the various book reviewers have provided enough insights to recognize that it involves a judgment upon employment, work and the meaninglessness of many jobs held by the population at large.

There would be, of course, some criticism as to the validity of such a judgment, given the nature of being an “outsider” as opposed to an “insider” — i.e., from the “outside” (e.g., the author/anthropologist himself who makes a living by selling books criticizing certain subjects) perspective, it may seem like certain types of work retain no inherent meaning, but from the “inside” perspective (i.e., those whose jobs it is to perform such tasks, and the companies, corporations and entities that require that such tasks be maintained), elements of employment that outsiders may deem meaningless may contain elaborate foundations of meaningfulness.

That was, of course, one of the criticisms thrown by Marx — of the separation of labor from the value of existence, arising coincidentally from the industrial revolution where mass production and assembly lines in factories that exploited labor resulted in a disillusioning effect because people no longer saw the fruits of one’s own labor (an aside: Does that explain why so many people think that the original source of beef, poultry and dairy products come from the storeroom of Safeway?).

How does one work, make a living and concurrently retain “meaning” in all, if not most, of the tasks performed?  Anyone who has been employed for any significant length of time comes to recognize that the three are distinct and separable: work is different from “making a living”, in that you can work for endless and tireless hours and yet not make enough wages to pay all of the bills; and whether you work long hours or not, and whether you can pay all of the debts incurred or have extra spending money at the end of each pay period, the “meaning” one derives from the work engaged is not necessarily attached to either the hours expended or the money earned.

For some, perhaps, meaning is never derived from the work itself, but merely from a recognition that the work is merely a means to an end — of performing tasks in order to earn enough wages to own a home, start a family and provide for a retirement, etc.  Or, for others, perhaps a deep-seated recognition is acceptable, that life itself is like the task that Sisyphus engaged in, and the toil of work is as the meaninglessness of rolling the boulder up another hill, only to see it roll back down again, and thus repetition allows for the futility of all tasks great or small.

One’s resolve and the will to impose meaningfulness in the face of alienation is a testament to man’s capacity to seek greater good.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the need to continue to find “meaning” in striving often is closely tied to the progressively deteriorating aspect of one’s health.  When one’s health is at issue, “meaningfulness” of one’s work may come into question, precisely because one’s capacity to view employment as a means to another end itself becomes a struggle.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, allows for one to reorient the priorities in life that should not be confused: Health, family, a sense of accomplishment, and somewhere in that mix, a career that may need to be changed, abandoned or otherwise modified because of one’s deteriorating health and the impact upon the meaningfulness of carrying on where to do so sacrifices one or more of the mixed priorities.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Information: Truth and Falsity

There is much discussion about the nature of truth and falsity in our world — if, indeed, shouting and counter-shouting constitutes discourse rising to the level of a “discussion”.  Whether there is Truth with a capital “T”; or are there various versions of multiple “truths”, where my truth is just as valid as your truth, and falsity as merely the negation of yours at the sacrificial behest of mine?

There are apparently “truths”, “alternative truths” and “parallel truths”, and perhaps all of them can “get along” and vie for the vaunted position of the lofty “Truth” with the capital “T”, so long as we all don’t roll upon the carpet with laughter within our bellies demeaning the statements made by various politicians claiming a corner of their truth as opposed to the truths that we all know to be true.

The truth is, Truth can take various forms, and it is the subtle distinctions that are lost in the inane discourse of modernity where relativism, lies, inaccuracies and the capacity to conflate and confuse have made it all “bosh”.

To begin with, there is a presumption of a truthful statement — otherwise, the entire concept of a “lie” would become meaningless.  Then, of course, there are statements of truth that are contextually relevant, as in the statement, “I am staying home today with my sick child.”  If such a statement were to be declared on another day, it may be an untruthful statement.  Furthermore, personal experiences attached to statements undermine the objectivity and universality of the utterance, as in the simple declarative, “I feel good today”.

The very concept of truth and falsity is much more complex than the simple and inane discussion that has developed from the recent discourse of truths, alternative truths and what constitutes factual statements, inaccurate ones or outright lies; but suffice it to say that most people can recognize the difference between truth and falsity, just as people know the difference between day and night even if there are shades of twilight and dawn.

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 worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of his or her Federal or Postal job, the distinction between truth and falsity is represented by the stark reality of the medical condition itself, and may often determine the course of future actions yet to be contemplated.

The truth:  The medical condition is beginning to impact my ability to perform my job duties at work.  The falsity:  If I just ignore everything, it will all just go away and I will wake up from a bad dream.  And the subtle distinctions like the dawn of light or the quietude of twilight: Federal Disability Retirement is not something that I want to choose, but it is the best option available for my situation.

Sometimes, it is not the stark choice between Truth and Falsity that matters, but the option taken must take into account the contextual reality of what is —that is, if you can even know these days what the definition of “is” is.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Claims: Being another

When you read that some actor, writer, politician or commentator (dare we ask why, in a single sentence, all of them have been lumped side by side) says X or does Y, we often allow our own ego as the “one-upsmanship” to overtake us, and we imagine that, if we were there, we would have said “XX” instead of “X”, or done “YY” instead of the mere “Y”.

At the moment, though we rarely recognize the egocentric reality of what we are doing, we actually “become” that actor, that writer, that politician or that commentator, and assume the role and identity of the person we have replaced in our mind’s eye.  Insanity, of course, comes about when a further step is taken — of believing not what we “would” have done or said, but incontrovertibly becoming that someone whom we are not.

The quantity of time expended within the insularity of our lives is astounding; and the personal — albeit creative and imaginative — excursions into another type of virtual reality consumes a greater part of each day, every hour and multiple minutes of our disjointed lives.  Perhaps this occurs in a quick flash of a stream of passing thoughts; or a long, enduring daydream that recurs through the day, the week, and over a month’s time; but of whatever duration, being another is something that we all do, and always at the expense one’s own ego and those who are close to us.

Being another also occurs in hopeful encounters with our own circumstances.  We imagine that we are ourselves, but also another who is simultaneously identical and yet different.  That is what a medical condition does — it divides the reality of who we are today from the memory of who we were yesterday, and further projects a person of what will become of us in the future, near or far.  Often, emotions become entangled in the images of who we are, and so regret pervades the past, anxiety overwhelms the present, and fear pursues the future.

Medical conditions tend to inject a factor that we have no control over, and it is that loss of control, combined with who we see ourselves as, and who we would rather be or become, that presents a dilemma: As circumstances change, can we continue to remain who we are and allow for being another — the “other” being the person who we once were — to continue as if such changes of circumstances never occurred?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition has “changed” a person to the extent that he or she is now “another” — someone not quite dissimilar to yesterday’s you but also not identical to today’s yesterday of the person we just met — because of circumstances beyond one’s control, it may be time to do that which only another in a different time and distinguishing context may have contemplated: file 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 reality is that we are never the same as who we were yesterday, and last year’s child of imaginative “being another” has grown into the “other” that was once imagined.

In the end, the essence of who we are will not have changed because of a medical condition, and what we do in life beyond filing for and obtaining a Federal Disability Retirement is more important than feeling self-pity for not having fulfilled one’s desire for being another, who was yesterday’s another in a different role from today’s another or tomorrow’s another.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Last

It is a peculiar word; for, it can mean both the final, end and trailing subject remaining in the far recesses of a sequence, likely to be forgotten and – except for the Biblical reference where such an entity can be accelerated to the front of the proverbial line – surely to be abandoned; yet, it also connotes endurance, the capacity to outfox others in similar circumstances, and the symbolic appearance of vitality and energy.  “Oh, that’s the last thing in the world you want to buy”, goes the dismissive utterance in considering that which is not of significance or relevance as a priority to be considered.  And:  “That’s one of a kind – it will last forever,” comes the accolade showered upon a product of excellence.

How can a single word comprised of four letters – the required singular vowel and the remainder of consonants surrounding like a moat protecting the castle encasing and elevating the royalty of linguistic peculiarities – possess such a diversity of meanings, like antonyms inherent in a conglomerate of a sole voice conflicted and yet without self-contradiction?  Is it like the grammatical equivalent of a tortoise in that famed fable who is considered always to be last, yet endures the scorn and scoffing of an audience that has no clue about that which will last beyond the ordinary circumstances of normative equivalency?

Yet, despite its innate complexity of meanings, ordinary people every day use it with aplomb, confidence and without any internal sense of being confounded by the challenges posed.  You don’t have to earn a higher-level degree or spend years of hermeneutical turmoil in order to offhandedly fling about in the daily language games engaged.  “I hope the good weather lasts”; “We’re the last ones in line”; “It is bad manners to take the last one”; “The parties hope for a lasting peace”.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal employees who need to file 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, the process of enduring a Federal Disability Retirement procedure will have a lasting impact upon the Federal and Postal employee, and this is especially true whether the Federal or Postal employee is the last person standing, in a proverbial sense, and often that is how the Federal and Postal employee feels – as if he or she is the last person in the Federal Agency or Postal facility to be considered for anything, because he or she is targeted as that last bastion of a thorn in the metaphorical backside of a lasting fight against the last thing the Federal Agency or Postal facility wants to deal with – the last man standing who will last through the harassment, intimidation and adversarial process of a lasting Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Civil Service: Recognizing the best of times

Often, we mistake short-term travails with the chronic despair experienced by some.  In the midst of an experiential trauma, compounded by a lack of capacity to consider the limited perspective we find ourselves in, the enmeshment of the “now” without any insight for a better tomorrow, a future to behold nor a distance aglow with the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, inflames the inner Darwinian categories of instinctive responsiveness to merely survive.

In retrospect, one’s judgment on any particular day or time, or even of an event remembered, may be altered.  We may even point to that slice of life and state with aplomb, “It was actually the best of times.”  How often do we hear that when one harkens back to the starving days, when struggling was a daily commotion and worrying was but a common routine?

By contrast, such reverential references are rarely attributed to those periods where longevity of suffering cannot be measured, where the chronic nature of the pain cannot be determined, and where no promises can be made that tomorrow will be any better off, no matter what extent of effort is exerted, than the next day, or the day before, or the day after, or the time prior.  In such circumstances, change itself may be a necessary component in the search for a light of hope.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who daily struggle with fulfilling the positional requirements of one’s job, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the best option available.

The concept itself – the “best of times” – is a relative one; we compare it to other memories where distance of time has not faded too radically a moment of the negative:  no (or lesser) pain; controlled depression; inability to remain sedentary for long; unable to bend, lift or reach repetitively; unable to engage in the physical requirements of the job; inability to have the requisite focus, concentration or work for any sustained period of time without the high distractibility of pain; these, and many more, constitute the foundational loss which may qualify the Federal or Postal employee to become eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Perhaps, getting an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will not necessarily mean that the best of times still lay before one; but surely, whatever the future beholds, the chronic nature of one’s medical condition, the unbearable burden of the daily toil just to make it to work, cannot by any manner of the definition, even imply that the “best of times” resides in the present circumstances of choice.

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a choice of sorts; it is to recognize that there is, indeed, life after Federal Service or the U.S. Postal Service, and further, that recognizing the best of times involves movement forward and beyond, where the present circumstances of negative returns will likely never allow for a regeneration of that which keeps us stuck in the quicksand of daily toil.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire