Federal Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Does reading alter?

Of course, we teach our kids to believe that it does, thinking that education is the all-important focus for future endeavors and successful careers.  And yet, the statistical studies show a consistency of denial – after schooling, whether of high school, college or beyond, the majority of individuals stop reading, unless you include road signs, directions on the back of packages (which most people disregard as well – come to think of it, of road signs, too), and the fine print on warranties (ibid).

So, is it just one of those pithy, inane phrases that fall under the general umbrella of, “Do as I say, not as I do”?  Does reading alter?  Alter what?  And does it matter “what” we read, as opposed to the act involved, “that we read”?  Would it bother someone if you saw a grown-up reading those old “Spot” books, or a collection of nursery rhymes?

If you approached the individual, or engaged in common banter at the workplace and made fun of him or her, would it make a difference depending upon the responses given?  What if the old gentleman responded with, “Well, at least I’m reading something!”  Or, what if the person turns seriously, sheds a few tears and admitted, “I never had time to read as a child, and never really learned.  I’m trying to better myself and teaching myself to read, now.”

Would such a confession instead garner a new perspective and bring out an empathetic reaction?  Or, what if that same person was seen reading a 1st grade book one day, and then tackling a complex manual about advanced logic or neuroscience – would that make you pause?

Perhaps the question itself is considered by most as rather rhetorical and irrelevant; that, it is presumed that reading does alter, but many prefer not to change and instead to remain in the constancy of monotony and repetitive stillness.  Just as the flow of a river results in erosion and soil shifting, so reading does indeed alter, and out encountering with the mind-bending activity results in the internal modification and modulation of complex biochemical structures.

Thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, it is important to read the questions posed in each of the Standard Forms in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement packet, precisely because it will alter not only the responses being prepared, but how those very responses will serve to result in a successful outcome.

Just as reading alters, so the responses to the questions read, to be read by an Administrative Specialist at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is also meant to alter.  For, change is the mainstay of a living entity, and reading is that tool which is meant to alter, even when preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The informed paradigm shift

Often, in ages older and generations beyond, it somehow becomes more difficult to be malleable and bend with the times, circumstances and turmoil of the day.  Does staid decay by refusal to adapt become a law of sorts for the aged?  Is it only youth that can change, or bring about pliable lives, or can the irrelevancy of old men and women be altered with an informed paradigm shift?

There is always a tautness and tension between generational divides; youth believes in beginning over again, to invigorate all plans and prospects of accomplishments – even of reinventing the wheel by trial and error.  And of the old, whose wisdom is never accessed, whether because of pride of youth of an arrogance fraught with silliness, it matters little.  The pendulum that swings between the two extremes, must by law of gravitational pull come to rest somewhere in the middle.

Paradigm shifts come about so infrequently, but there is often an underlying reason:  Just as wholesale genetic overhauls rarely strengthen a Darwinian foundation for survival, so the principles upon which one lives one’s life should not be abandoned after a lifetime of experiences in learned cynicism.  The fact is, it is always difficult to change when circumstances dictate.

Somehow, we believe ourselves to be the masters of our own destinies; and whether the fate of a generation is collectively overpowered by a consciousness of unfathomable mysteries, or each of us must singularly carry the burden of our future lives as isolated pockets without friendship or love, we like to think that we can control our future.  But there are events and circumstances beyond our control, transcending fault or personal responsibility; and the social contract of good citizenry – of abiding by the laws, following the normative constructs of societal acceptability, etc. – follows upon that path of accomplishment.

That is true of a medical condition – for, when a medical condition begins to impact major life activities of a person, an informed paradigm shift must by necessity occur.  It is not a matter of bad fate or unfortunate luck; it simply is, and the sooner one becomes “informed”, the better the paradigm shift for one’s future.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from just such a medical condition, where the medical condition or event begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, is may well be time to consider a paradigm shift.

Preparing, formulating and 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, often requires just such a paradigm shift – a pliability in one’s thinking, and an alteration based upon the information (i.e., being “informed”) presented; and the next step once a cognitive paradigm shift has occurred, is to reach out in order to begin the administrative process of engaging the expertise needed in order to weather the trials of tomorrow.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement from Federal Employment: Magnum Opus

It is applied as the masterpiece and pinnacle of achievement, but is more generally referred to as the identifying crown for an individual of some notable accomplishment in the various fields and disciplines.  There are looser forms of using the term, of course, in common parlance, in a half-joking, half-serious manner; as in referring to one’s spouse with greater humility, or events that occurred with greater consequences than expected or foreseen.  Like Mozart’s Requiem Mass in D Minor or Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”, the Magnum Opus represents the pinnacle of one’s achievement in the career of a chosen field, or within a discipline one was merely destined for.

Most of us, of course, never reach that height of human achievement recognized and lauded by a standard of excellence the world around; mediocrity is the lot of most, and that is okay, so long as the achievements made within the confines of private lives are accorded a similar standard striving to reflect the apex of human worth.  For, the Magnum Opus can be in the simple act of kindness in daily living – of bringing in the garbage can of an elderly neighbor too frail to wander out on a snow-fallen morning, or giving a shelter animal a chance at some semblance of happiness and contentment, and diminishing the violent memories of prior mistreatment and maltreatment.

In the end, it is not the marking of graves with epitaphs of grandeur that matter – though we may fantasize of jealousy and envy overwhelming relatives we disliked, visiting the tombstone of our own creation and smirking at the largesse accorded by a public never quite knowing but the public figure of accomplishments we deign to applaud – but of unmarked ones that are visited by a family left behind, empty with an aching heart for the laughter that we brought, the joy we helped enliven, and the fleeting moment of happiness that encompassed the otherwise dreary lot of a population confused between sex and love.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who has believed that the Magnum Opus of one’s fortunes were somehow tied up inextricably in the career path of a Federal agency or Postal facility, rethinking the paradigm is tantamount to a heretical utterance of unfathomable delay.  There is life beyond a Federal agency’s mission (though you may not discern it well from the attitudes of coworkers and Supervisors), and there is importance and relevance beyond the Postal facility one has worked for.

When a medical condition comes to a point where one cannot meet the expectations of that grand “mission” that has been a constant drone of contention, it might be time to consider preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Don’t let the Magnum Opus of one’s career be on the downturn of one’s accomplishments because blind fealty to an agency or the U.S. Postal Service has stopped any forward progress; instead, it may be for the next phase of one’s life that the unmarked grave is visited upon with an epitaph still to be written.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Exchanging pleasantries

Some possess the greater patience for it, and enthusiastically embrace the inherent gamesmanship and accompanying pleasures derived therefrom; while others merely forego even the most basic of such prefatory considerations and condescending patronization that commonly attaches.  Still others mechanically, thoughtlessly and with automated responsiveness, emit the utterances with aplomb and a wave of hands, never pausing to even consider the discourteousness of violating that fragile sheen of neighborly discourse.

— “Hello, how are you.”
An introductory glance inviting suspicion and possible rebuttal

—  “Fine weather, isn’t it?”
Can a mere nod be sufficient?

—  “Hello!”

Can we get by this person with silence?

Have we become more cynical as a whole, and have the constant warnings by governmental agencies concerning scams, frauds and insincere malfeasance taken its toll?  Or, are there still visiting angels among us, whom we ignore at our own peril?

Are there exceptional salutations that demand a presence of mind, or do they all fit into a mold of complacent irrelevancy?  “Merry Christmas”, or its more neutral form of “Happy Holidays”, and even “Happy New Year” – is it the occasion itself which is evocative of a positive response, or does the Scrooge that lives within each of us allow for a grunt and a nod?  When exchanging pleasantries becomes reduced to a mere foresight of impending hostility, does it lose its efficacy, or is the “break-down” of superficial civility revealed in the acrid intonation of a voice which fails to match the salutation itself?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have come to expect the common resources of exchanging pleasantries, the line of demarcation where civility devolves into acrimony and harassment often boils to the surface when the Federal or Postal employee begins to become less productive as a result of a medical condition that prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties.  Whether under FERS, CSRS of CSRS Offset, it is often a good indicator of things to come, and thus it is important to gain a “step ahead” by preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Time was that exchanging pleasantries was always taken for granted; but for the Federal or Postal employee who is witnessing the deterioration not just of one’s own health, but the superficial health of common decency and discourse with coworkers, managers and supervisors – it may be time to exchange those pleasantries with a reality check, and begin preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Disability from Federal Government Employment: That departed innocence of yonder years

Whether we have become meaner as a whole, or that people have always been so and we just never knew it, we shall never know.  How does one contrast the incomparable?  What algorithm would be applied, which quantitative analysis, and how would a qualitative methodology of content-purity be administered?  Parity of differentiation would destroy any meaningful application; for, the generational divide would question the relevance of any prior criteria applied, and the subjectivity of inherent bias as to the meaning of innately elastic words would undermine the entire format.

Is there a natural yearning for a bygone age — of romanticizing a time never quite existing, somewhat skewed, and forever filtered through the antiseptic memory edited by time, desire and the psychology of protective devotion?  Do we selectively choose, whether unconsciously or with deliberative acuity, that which we want to preserve, like those museums housing reconstructed prehistoric beasts from mere fragments developed into an imaginative construct of creative fantasies?  Yet, there are clearly narratives which have annotated a different mentality, a structure of a departed innocence portraying a pastoral purity forever vanquished by modernity of vacuity.

Mark Twain’s works surely provide evidence of it; although, one has to read his works of later years to recognize that even he succumbed to the cynicism of life’s undesired experiences.  Look at the ending in Pudd’nhead Wilson; do any of the characters emerge victorious from the circumstances ascribed, or does the wheel of misfortune simply accept the inevitability of a world ensconced in the satire of fate as administered by gods who play with eternity and circumstances, like malevolent children with insects and matches?

Then, of course, there is Carl Sandburg’s depiction in, The Prairie Years —  but does that not prove the point?  Was it not merely a retrospective outlook of a selectively chosen era, characterized by age and want of holding on to yonder years forever lost and transcribed merely by an age of innocence never in existence but by device of mythologization (despite the ugliness of such a term)?  Yet, whether of reality or of tricking one’s self by some repressed psychological device, the human need to retain and preserve that departed innocence of yonder years, is a reality which is part and parcel of the complexity inherent in the phenomenology of sanity.

This is important to consider, especially for the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who feels a sense of hopelessness and despondency, given the current situation of contending with a medical condition and where decisions concerning one’s future must be made.  For, when a medical condition begins to intervene, and the Federal or Postal employee must consider the probability of 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 “surface” issues that must be contended with — of the unpleasantness of the circumstances themselves; the hostility of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service; the medical inability and incapacity resulting from the illness or injury; all of these are mere “appearances” which conceal a more substantive undercurrent of “reality” imposed.

For, like the yearning for that departed innocence of yonder years, the truth of the matter is that all human beings seek for, and desire, a sign of kindness — that simple act that costs nothing, but encompasses an untold value of meaningful touch which feels for a brief moment the brush of an angel’s garment as it shuffles silently by, leaving the warmth and floral scent of a life worth living.

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: Privacy and the parody which excites

The bifurcation between public and private issues has been blurred to such an extent that the social norms which once prevailed no longer apply.  Public figures constantly complain about the intrusion of unwanted exposure, and yet they generate and welcome their wealth precisely by means of voluntarily submitting to such magnified scrutiny.  Notoriety in modernity results in the accumulation of a fattened checkbook; protestations aside, it is hollow hypocrisy indeed to claim violation of trespass.

In purely private lives, that which was once discreetly implied, but otherwise remained concealed, is now publicly displayed on Facebook, tweeted on Twitter, and exposed on Websites throughout the ethereal universe of the Internet.  While not formally designated as a “secret”, and perhaps not even covered under confidentiality terms, there was a general sense and acceptance that certain functions, both bodily and otherwise revelatory of actions within the strict confines of plaster walls, need not, should not, and would not be displayed for public consumption.  Of course, hackers burglarize for purposes of nefarious means, but aside from access to financial divestitures, it turns out that much of the information exposed had already previously been displayed, anyway.  Nevertheless, we feign violative dismay and engage in the parody of life where access of private lives excites the worst within us.

Medical information, of course, remains somewhat in a different category; although, from the confessions revealed in television commercials of medications available for conditions which would bring the pink of blushing to grandmothers of yore, one questions whether anything is left sacrosanct, anymore.  But that is the ultimate distinction to be made, isn’t it?  We can talk of medical conditions unwedded to a particular individual, and it remains acceptable; once the medical condition is identified with a specific person, and revealed, then a violation of privacy has occurred.  Aside from standing in line at the Post Office and being forced to listen to old people talk about the most recent medical procedures performed, the majority of the population still considers certain information to be “private”, if not a family’s “secret”.

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 the essential elements of one’s positional duties at the Federal or Postal job, worries over maintaining the privacy of one’s medical file always remains a concern of inextricable engagement.  Human beings being who they are, the chance that the most private of medical information must be, or will be, disseminated beyond the periphery of a “need to know” criteria, is greater than any normative constraints will guarantee.

In the end, the best approach is to simply do the best that one can in trying to limit exposure and revelation of that most private of information; but when the Federal Disability Retirement packet reaches the Agency’s Human Resource Office, en route to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the concerns of privacy will always follow where the parody which excites may not be able to fully be prevented.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire