Disability Retirement from Working with the Federal Government: Originality

It is a frightening word; for, it is what we all strive for, yet almost always fall short, fail or attempt to justify and obfuscate for not quite reaching that goal.

Fortunately, there are at least two, but likely an infinite number of, avenues of avoidance in being charged with its lack:  First, and fortunately, plagiarism is not a criminal offense and, moreover, no one really seems to care except in the most egregious of instances, and furthermore, for those professing to be constrained by Catholic orthodoxy, it isn’t even a venial sin, let alone a mortal one.

Second (and ad infinitum as to the corollaries, so that we do not have to go beyond the phrase, “And secondly” or engage in the Internet’s most popular search engine contrivances that always includes, “Five ways to..” or the “Ten most important…”), there is always an excuse for its lack, beginning with:  “Well, I did the best I could”; “It’s not so important to be unique as to feel good about yourself”, and the dead ringer:  “There is no originality left; everything has already been spoken for.”

Is that why the period between “the original” and “the remake” keeps becoming shorter and shorter?  Is it an unavoidable truism that – from themes and plots for stories, novels and other similar genres, to television shows and movies, as well as songs and artworks – there is a limit of finite constraints that even human creativity cannot avoid?

History reveals that originality of profound dimensions will arise in spurts and burps; from Continental Europe’s juggernaut of painters and writers, to America’s continuum of astounding literary greats including Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Updike to Vonnegut; and, in the great tradition and power of the Russian novelists and playwrights, from Dostoevsky to Chekhov and multiple others, without even reaching back to centuries preceding, the originality of works steeped in profound insights cannot be denied.

Has modernity followed a similar course, or has the bludgeoning of unceasing informational overload tempered the capacity of human creativity?

There is a known, coy quip about the formulaic recipe for great literary or visual works:  “Have a terrible childhood, and write about it.”  Thus, such a perspective is reinforced by Dickens and other coconspirators.  A cousin to that rule is to live through political turmoil under repressive circumstances, and the validation for that is revealed by Eastern European and South American writers of current vintage, especially now that translations have been improved and perfected.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the concern about originality should enter but only in a cursory manner.

Facts must guide; the evidence will prevail.

In preparing answers to the connivances of questions required on SF 3112A (Applicant’s Statement of Disability), do not try to be “original” in writing the narrative of one’s life, medical conditions and the impact upon one’s positional duties.

Remember always the other quip that must be recognized:  That each individual is already a paradigm of the original, and while the narrative engaged may not always be unique, and the reviewer at OPM may have “seen one and seen them all”, it is nevertheless one of a kind whether recognized and acknowledged by others, precisely because the life-experiences the Federal Disability Retirement applicant has endured has been nothing but original in the first instance.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Masking of Fate

It is still perhaps appropriate at the time of this writing, to consider masks and costumes, as Halloween, or All Hallows’ Eve lingers is just over.  It is a celebratory time; and whether of religious significance or origins discovered in the medieval Gaelic folklore long lost but in remaining songs and ballads sung sweetly without instrumentality or electronic mixing, the tradition of putting on a disguise, concealing one’s face with a mask of another’s soul continues.

It is doubtful that the meaning behind such traditions are ever discussed or believed in; we live in a time when the pinnacle of belief is comprised of nihilism and disbelief; and so the request for alms or a few pieces of candy “on behalf of” a soul departed, is not the foundation as to why a disguise is embraced.  It is, instead, to “have fun” – which is a valid enough reason and rationale in and of itself, though such a goal is not exclusive to also engaging in the activity with a knowledge of why, where we came from, or what we are living for.

The medieval practice of mumming or souling have clearly lost their roots of meaningful efficacy; and with virtual reality overtaking the imagination of modern childhood, there is little room left for the spirit-world of other dimensions, even if we could bring ourselves to believe in them.  Materialism has deadened the parallel universes of fantasy and imagination; the moon smiling can be explained by craters and ridgelines of impervious rocks.  Costumes and masks merely reflect a world already dead; they are not put on for disguise on behalf of souls departed, but merely a put-on to justify laughter, lost innocence and untoward sadness.

Perhaps, by keeping a tradition alive, there will be the possibility of hope, that the meaningfulness of that which is preserved will have a flickering light of potentiality.  But, then, that would mean that elves, gnomes and goblins may still lurk behind hidden corridors of timeless imaginations.

Fate masked is to conceal nothing; it is only when there is a face behind the mask that the mask has any real value; but if the face concealed no longer possesses value, what is the worth of the mask itself?  It merely echoes the truth of Lear’s admonition to Cordelia that, “Nothing will come of nothing.”  There have always been masks to conceal, but worn on occasions recognized for specified events, where all can engage in the fun of hidden meanings; it is the mask of daily veil, however, that should instill terror in the hearts and souls of the living.  For, it is that smile dispossessed; the disarming wink; the open expression of camaraderie; yet, once the back is turned, the sharpened knives are unsheathed for selective display of unstated purposes.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the question often posed is:  When should I?  The missing addendum to such a general question is multiple:  When should I file (as soon as possible, as the process to obtain a Federal Disability Retirement benefit is long and arduous); When should I inform my agency or the U.S. Postal Service (not until the time of filing, unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise); When should I take off this masking of fate?

As to this last question – well, perhaps when the Federal Disability Retirement application is finally prepared and ready for filing; for, that is the time when the point of pain, anguish and the hollow eyes impounded by a medical condition may begin to repair themselves for the trading dawn away from the daily drudgery of the mask that conceals.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Diaphanous characters

Like garments left little for the imagination, the thin veil we wear rarely conceals the warts and freckles which spread throughout the malignancy of our souls.  People often mistake and confuse Christendom’s barring of an impure taint from entering the gates of its exclusive club; it is not what you did, but that you did it, and refused to take the steps to expiate the uncleanliness.

Thus, from the perspective unsoiled whiteness, a speck will blemish whether the dimensions of the spot are quantifiable or not.  That is why we dress ourselves with something, or anything, thinking that behind the veil — despite its translucent and revelatory insubstantiality — will somehow provide a semblance of security in an otherwise brutal world of appearances even for lack of subtlety.  And it is with that diaphanous character — the one which allows for surface niceties, inane salutations and barely restrained disdain for one another — that we pursue our own interests, determine the selfish destiny of fated lives, and consider not the greater interests of a community no longer existing but for suburban neighborhoods lined with pristine lawns sanctified by an immaculate insensitivity for disregard of each other’s needs.

No, the character remains whatever the cosmetic superficiality we attempt to apply; and when we put too much make-up on, or inadvertently smear the eye-liner or lipstick of incommensurate measures, there will be waiting that one who is only too pleased to point it out.

And, any such veneer of empathy quickly dissipates once there is weakness revealed — as with Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who fail to perform one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, resulting from a medical condition which clearly impacts the ability and capacity to fulfill the positional requirements.  Such Federal employees and Postal workers, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, have the choice of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and indeed, this is often the best remaining alternative to embrace.

For, the greater society which proceeds obliviously beyond the troubles experienced by a next door neighbor otherwise unknown but for an occasional wave of the hand, nod of the chin or silent stares of impassivity as the roar of the lawnmower eviscerates the quietude of a summer’s day, merely reflects what occurs daily in the hallways and corners of offices throughout the microcosmic insignificance of what we do daily; we become mean, and only on the deathbeds of sudden conversions do we consider the consequences of our actions.

No, the diaphanous character which we pass by each day needs to be left alone, and for the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who experiences daily the subtle hints and not-so-subtle warnings of harassment and intimidation merely because a medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, it is time to shake off the trepidation of life’s cold waters, and dive into the next phase which awaits you, like a lake of welcoming freshness with open arms revealing that childhood dream on the lazy elbows of a memory once forgotten, but still remembered with the voice which beckons in a whisper, “There is still a life beyond.”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The work left undone

If life were merely a series of projects attended to, completed and accomplished with a declaration of unassailable certitude, like a period at the end of a sentence, the final paragraph of a novel, or silence upon a speaker’s conclusion; of a linear progression forever with movement on a horizontal graph; but it is not.

Instead, the circularity of life’s problems, of concerns regurgitated and revisited because unattended or otherwise reappearing, like the aunt who visits unannounced and the uncle exhaustively referred to as the “black sheep” of the family who appears at one’s doorstep with suitcase in hand; it is the boil behind the leg that keeps resurfacing, where the ill winds of unexpected vicissitudes keeping getting a second chance when redemption is unwanted and uncalled for, but nevertheless reappears for the salvation of one’s soul.

And, in some sense, it is a salvation, isn’t it?  For, if life were a series of work completed, never to be revisited but always working without need for repairs, we would realize the finite nature of the world and care not to attend to the past.  Instead, it is precisely the work left undone which compels us to keep plugging along, to rewrite the list by the items we crossed off and the ones we reordered; and it tells something about one, in the manner of how that list is reorganized.

Do the items yet remaining get full status at the top of the yellow pad in the new order of priorities, or does it remain again relegated to those unwanted and undesired categories, like the illegal immigrant somehow existing but forever ignored and unnoticed, without the full rights and privileges of the legitimized constructs arriving by arbitrary choice?  We were taught as children that the work left undone reflected a character flaw, but somehow, as we grew older, we realized that but for those things left asunder, the incompleteness of life would have no value, no meaning, and ultimately no reason to live for.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents him or her from performing all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the work left undone often presents a dilemma of sorts: the completion of one’s career becomes untenable; each day, one falls further and further behind; and of life’s lesson ingrained from childhood, that we should always finish the plate of food we are served, cannot be fulfilled, and so we ruminate and worry, fret and flounder in this farcical mythology of linear fiction.

For such Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is the best alternative and only real solution available.  For, what we were never told is that the work left undone is merely in the eye of the beholder, as beauty depends upon the perspective of the audience and worth upon the buyer who desires; and that the Westerner’s world-view of a linear-based universe is certainly not shared by the Easterner who comprises the greater part of the infinite panoply, as represented by Shiva’s circle of fire.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: When we used to speak of meaningful things

Perhaps the negation of ideas trickles down, just as water from a crack in the roof tiles; of Derrida, Foucault and the deconstruction movement after the lengthy period of disillusionment represented by the French Existentialists headed by Camus and Sartre; for, if meaning constitutes parity and the loss of hierarchies and paradigms in crumbling corners of inconvenient truths, then Orwell’s prediction of how totalitarianism will infect society with the tools of our own making, will come about sooner than we thought possible.

Let us not speak of Logical Positivism and how the expungement of ethics and metaphysics from kitchen table discussions resulted in the loss of meaning, value and truth; for, if validity of a statement is determined from on high in the ivory towers of Russell, Wittgenstein and Ayers, et al., one has only to look at the state of British society today to realize that while the island continent allowed for profundity of thought in the isolation of its heyday, its impact and influence should have remained contained in order to spare the rest of mankind.

There was a time when we used to talk about meaningful days.  Oh, it doesn’t refer necessarily to what is said, but more as to the discretion of what is kept silent.  For, it is the pause between thought and spoken word which reflects the depth of thoughtfulness; and, in modernity, the comma of silence between the typed garble considered a sentence, and the push of that button which shoots it into the eternal space of the Internet.  Just take a cursory preview of random Facebook and Twitter pages; of the inane, the insane and the intemperate; there was once, long ago, a time when work and toil to put bread on the table prevented the leisure of thoughtlessness allowance for indiscretion of a spoken word.

To be wrong is one thing; most mistakes are correctible and even forgivable; it is the engagement of lack of thought, discretion and unadulterated vacuity of breathtaking stream of words spoken, shared and disseminated without care, which destroys the society of binding values and becomes replaced with angry shouts of rights and privileges, and more so by those who engage in the self-immolation of devaluating acts.

Greater quantification of information does not implicate knowledge, leaving aside the concept of wisdom; instead, as Orwell knew so well, words mean something.  We tend to think that the more said, the greater volume of voice, and the increased amassing of a library of information, somehow leads to a smarter society.  It is, instead, quite the opposite, and the negative effect of thrashing about to escape from quicksand; the more we say, the stupider we appear.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are contemplating preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is important to understand that obtaining a cogent and effective medical narrative, in conjunction with preparing a compelling Statement of Disability on SF 3112A, are the two mainstays of a high-octane Federal Disability Retirement packet which increases the chances of a successful outcome.

Federal and Postal employees who are seeking to file for Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits need not worry about speaking or discussing meaningful things; the tragedy of a medical condition, by its very nature, is a significant event which impacts upon a life, a career and a future.  Yes, there was a time when we used to speak of meaningful things, but those days are over — but for the intersection of human lives when words really matter, and lives are actually lived.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire