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

 

Federal Disability Retirement Representation: Living Anguish

Two or more meanings can be gleaned, often depending upon the emphasis one places upon the sequence of words uttered.  One is the experience of the state itself; the other, the active phenomena in the presence of now.  In either form, the clear implication embraces the state of anguish, whether in a living state, or by living it.

Is the state of existence in modernity itself a constant and unavoidable situation involving anguish?  Is the craziness of the lives we live — of the inevitable rush of each day; the interference of work into personal lives, and the incessant drum of technology without a moment’s pause of temporary cessation — the cause of such anguish, or is the anguish felt merely a reflection of who we are?  Is it any different from the days just following the Last Great War when men and women bemoaned the state of absurdity while drinking coffee at sidewalk cafes in Paris?

Living anguish — again, whether in the form of “aliveness” or meaning merely that it is a state of being we find ourselves in — is a simple fact of modernity’s choice of existence.  For, except for those who can afford to live a life of luxury attended to by servants, cooks, butlers and chauffeurs, do the rest of us choose the living anguish, or do circumstances impose the state of being without any say-so in the life chosen?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where 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 — of course the living anguish is exponentially quantified, and often the only remaining alternative is to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Part of the living anguish of life itself is in the very limitations of our choices presented, and when a medical condition begins to impact one’s livelihood and the capacity to continue with one’s career, the fact that there is a choice — of filling for Federal Disability Retirement — somewhat alleviates the “livingness” of the anguish we experience, and allows for an alternative to the anguish felt in living with an increasingly debilitating medical condition.

But that choice of getting beyond living anguish must begin with the first steps in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, and that starts with a consultation with an attorney who can begin to guide the Federal or Postal employee away from the living anguish by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Fear of one’s shadow

What does that metaphor mean?  Perhaps to different people, different and varying things — of constantly being on edge despite nothing objectively to be anxious about; of fearing the worst around every bend and corner; of imagining impending doom despite the best of times; of never being able to enjoy that which has been attained or accomplished; and a multitude of similar circumstances that evoke an image of a person who remains in a perpetual flux of emotional turmoil.

Does this describe you?  Perhaps there is a reason — some Freudian abscess deep within the damaged psyche of an individual, unidentified and undetected, originating from a trauma experienced in childhood; or, he’s just a “nervous sort of fellow”.  Fear of one’s shadow is that person who expects the worst even within circumstances that highlight the best.  It is not just a lack of confidence, nor a pessimism that pervades against the reality of the illuminated world; rather, it is the expectation of disaster when reality fails to coincide with shadows that fail to appear even when all around you darkness dominates.

Perhaps we have done a disservice to this newest generation, and the one before, by always encouraging them with hope, never criticizing them, and allowing them to always think “positively” about themselves, their expectations and their future.  Then, when reality abuts against the expectation of anticipated success, this young generation falls apart and is inadequately prepared to handle failure.

Fear of one’s shadow is often the byproduct of an upbringing unprepared and unfortunately ill-prepared to become responsive to failures in life’s cycle of successes and failures.  It is, in many ways, a protective mechanism, where fear is the dominant factor in order to shield one from the reality of the world around.

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, the fear of one’s shadow may not be so unrealistic — especially as it concerns how the agency or the Postal Service will act, react, respond to or otherwise initiate sanctions, actions and administrative proposals if you fail to return to a previous level of productivity and attendance regularity.  For, in the end, the Federal Agency and the Postal Service are not in a protective role; rather, they are often the adversary that needs to be constantly reminded of “the laws” that protect and preserve human dignity and contractual responsibilities.

For Federal employees and Postal workers who need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, remember always that it is not one’s own shadow that needs to be feared, but rather, the looming figure behind your own shadow that may come unexpectedly to attack you, and that is why you need to consult with an experienced attorney in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Possibilities to pursue

In one sense, it is nonsensical to ask the question:  “Is it possible to…?”  For, is there any limitation to the concept of the possible?  Isn’t it possible that there are Martians on Mars, but in a parallel universe unseen and concealed from the human eye?  Isn’t it possible that the room you leave disintegrates molecularly, then reconstitutes itself the moment you reenter?  Isn’t it possible that it will rain tomorrow, despite the national weather service predicting otherwise (this latter example is actually not too absurd, as it is a regular occurrence experienced by most)?

Does it alter the significance and qualitative relevance of the query if, instead, we exchange the word with “probable”?   Does probability by numerical quantification of possibility negate the extremes and unfettered boundaries of the possible?  Does a statistical analysis make a difference – say, if a “scientist” asserts that the chances of Martians existing on Mars in a parallel universe unseen is 1-in-1 Billion (as opposed to 1-in-999 million – i.e., are such statements and declarations really accurate at all?) – to the extent that it somehow replaces with credibility the conceptual construct of the possible?

It is all very doubtful, and beyond some cynicism of puzzlement and suspicion that such statistical assertions constitute a perfection of any reasonable methodological approach, the reality is that for the person who is struck by lightening while golfing on a sunny day, that 1-in-a-trillion chance is negated by the 100% probability that he or she was, in fact, in reality, struck by lightening, no matter what the statistical analysis declares.

In the end, probability analysis places some semblance of constraints upon the fenceless conceptual paradigm of possibilities, but it is the latter which compels man to attempt feats beyond the probable, and it is the former which places a reality check upon the limitless creativity of fools, madmen and eccentric geniuses throughout history.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering the possibility of pursuing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal Worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the question often constraining is the probability consensus of “success” – and, yes, that is a consideration that the reality of a bureaucracy and administrative process should face and take into consideration.

In the end, the possibility of a successful filing can be enhanced by the probability factors that are required by law:  A methodological approach; a supportive doctor who is willing to provide a narrative connecting the dots between the medical condition and the essential elements of one’s positional duties; a systematic legal argumentation that provides a “road-map” for the Administrative Specialist at OPM; and an understanding that the possibilities to pursue can be qualitatively quantified by the probability of supportive documentation.  Go figure.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Separation from Federal Government Employment: The Life of Clichés

Use of cliches allows for minimal effort of expression; the very loss of originality, of benefit derived from utterances overused but generally understood, and the utter dependence upon past acceptance of declarative thoughts without needing to consider the applicability of the conceptual connotation — these allow for laziness to wander throughout a thoughtless platitude.

The aggregate of a linguistic universe, however, is one thing; to live a life of cliches beyond merely stating the obvious, is to embrace, engage and ultimate believe in them.  “Life’s lottery has left me bankrupt”; “This is merely the quiet before the storm“; “All is fair in love and war”; “The writing is on the wall”; and as the heuristic methodology is forever forsaken, the thoughts one expresses become molded into the very character of one’s life and manner of living, with the consequential quietude of a static and emotionless construct, leading ultimately to a negation of that which defines what it means to be human.

The automaton of life’s requirements tend to beat down the creativity we are born with; as we were once “diamonds in the rough”, so the long journey of difficulties faced throughout the trials of daily toil, incrementally and insidiously wear upon us, until one day we look in the mirror and the reflection reveals eyes which stare back in a vacuum of human suffering not known in those days of former innocence.

Once, we laughed in the company of our siblings as the ocean waves rolled over the fragile sand castles we built without fear of impending doom, and not knowing was a vanguard of happiness, where delight in one another was yet unconsumed by the worries of economic turmoil and complexity of adulthood; until we somehow “grew up”, lost our sense of direction and compass of fortitude, and slowly allowed the heavy atmosphere of fear, trepidation and anxieties of living overwhelm us.  We became a walking cliche.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must face the reality of such a situation, especially when a medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits becomes more and more of an urgent requirement.  Working for a Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is in and of itself a challenge; what with the pressures of budgetary cutbacks and insistence upon squeezing blood out of a stone (there we go again), it becomes all the more unbearable when a medical condition is introduced into the equation.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through one’s Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service may sometimes seem like waving the proverbial white flag of surrender; but, often, that is the only alternative left, unless the Federal or Postal employee wants to become the modern-day version of a walking zombie, devoid of any real life left to live.

Ultimately, all Federal Disability Retirement applications must be decided by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether submitted first through one’s Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service (for those Federal or Postal employees not yet separated from service, or not for more than 31 days), and it is often a daunting administrative process full of bureaucratic pitfalls.  But the alternative is to merely live a life of cliches, where you must never lose track of time, and filing in the nick of time is important, lest you fail to be as clever as a fox, but hopefully, where all is well that ends well.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire