OPM Disability Retirement: The dullness of creative lack

Have you ever observed the child who takes a stick and imagines himself/herself (we are trying to maintain the decorum of political correctness, here, by including all genders, because the implication otherwise in using a reflexive pronoun identifying a specific population apparently denotes that excluding the other half-or-so of the world’s inhabitants is discriminatory and an engagement of possible malfeasance, which we would not want to be charged with) emboldened by a weapon in hand and being the hero of an imaginary battle, invincible to a fault, brave without being arrogant, and making garbled sounds of whizzing bullets and fantastical feats of being wounded but with tenacity of self-will, capturing the enemy fort, being generous to those unfortunate prisoners of war and conquering singlehandedly a page in the history of unbounded heroism?

Contrast that depicted slice of imagination, to the child who is given every expensive toy and accouterments available on Amazon – the superhero wardrobe with cape; a replica of a life-like weapon; plastic hand grenades; and whatever other appendages that replace the creativity of one’s imagination – even of sound-effects emitted, downloaded on one’s cellphone placed in the utility belt worn by the kid; suddenly, it is mere motions that the child goes through, while all of the trappings have been satisfied even before the fun began.

That is what we do, isn’t it, as parents who believe that we were deprived in our own childhoods?  We gave everything, not knowing that by doing so, we took away the most important piece of the proverbial puzzle.  It is the puzzle of the dullness of creative lack; the less we had, the more we had to compensate and greater the reward in cognitive activity; and the more we gave, the less the child had to provide his or her creative input, thereby diminishing the soul’s inner force of imagination, resulting in the negative consequence in the dullness of creative lack.

That which we are given that undermines creative energy, we submit with the lazy side of human nature; and as inactivity and inertia results in atrophy, so gifts unsolicited in overabundance of generosity can actually harm in the ignorance of thoughtless plenitude.  And so we often find ourselves in the rut of daily monotony, on that treadmill of constancy even when we know we are destroying ourselves.  Children, in their innocence, don’t realize the harm; adults, too, but not in innocence but cynicism of life’s callouses, forge ahead even if they do recognize the harm.

Isn’t that what the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who persists in the self-immolation of continuing a Federal or Postal career, is actually doing?  For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, it is often the reality of the harm perpetrated by continuing in the Federal or Postal position that prompts, compels, and finally necessitates the preparation, formulation and filing of a 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.

Going down the road of Federal Disability Retirement is often considered a major decision and a giant leap in one’s life, but it certainly does not portend of a dullness of creative lack to consider its resulting benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Living versus being alive

There is a difference, is there not?  Of hummingbirds and cardinals bright against the backdrop of an evergreen; of a child running across the grassy knoll; then of aged men in nursing homes, shuttered away in corners where the drool of saliva unwiped reveals the tarnish of human unkindness; and of prisons rotting away with crowded cells for addicts whose sickness is considered a crime where, in ages past, opium dens and other vices merely preached in empty churches of the difference between mortal and venial sins unrehearsed.  Yet, we have somehow been duped into believing that “movement” is the basis of “living”, and its antonym, the lack thereof, constitutes something less than.

It is often when a medical condition overwhelms one with a debilitating illness, or a chronic state of pain; or, even of inconvenience in not being able to function as other “normal” people do, that it begins to “hit home”:  living is good; being alive, also, is worth it.  Perhaps the distinction is scoffed at by the healthy; as youth believes in the immortality and invincibility of foolhardiness, and often tests it to the detriment of failure and embarrassment, so wisdom may accompany an insight of some rather insignificant profundity – that we can boast well when everything is merely a hypothetical, as in ivory towers of university concepts, but we are all willing to compromise when the stark choices of life present themselves within limited contexts of concealed alternatives.

Being alive isn’t all that bad; living is preferable, but sometimes we have to accept the choices as presented by the reality of our unique and individualized circumstances.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates ending one’s career and shortening one’s desire for continuation in a chosen field, the recognition and admission as to the limitations imposed by one’s mortality, health and physical boundaries, as well as the impact of psychiatric conditions upon one’s ability to have the cognitive focus, concentration and attention to detail, will oftentimes require compromises that come close to the distinction noted – of living, versus being alive.

Perhaps the contrast has not swung in the pendulum of such extremes of options, but the feeling is certainly something that hits close to home.  For, continuation in the job will only further and progressively debilitate, such that you will come to a point of no return and end up simply being alive.  Living, as the preferable choice, is to take the steps in preparing, formulating and filing 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, precisely in order to prevent that state of last option prior to the ultimate test of mortality’s humor – of merely being alive, as opposed to living.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Dostoevsky and impassioned monologues

Does anyone read such an author, anymore?  At least, once one is beyond the assigned reading list and mandatory college compulsions that allegedly define those who are “educated” as opposed to not, does anyone perform the act out of pleasure?  Or, perhaps we would consider it more like self-torture.

Once the diploma is rolled, handed and received upon the platform of recognized accolades for accomplished feats now disseminated throughout all levels of society, where “blue collar” or physical labor is no longer perceived as acceptable and everyone must be subjected to the torture of reading Dostoevsky and his impassioned monologues that seem to meander forever upon a single scene, does anyone pick up a copy of such titles as, The Idiot, or The Brothers Karamazov, or of that “classic”, Crime and Punishment, and take valuable leisure time to plod and plug through such lengthy paragraphs upon puzzling paragraphs of reflective self-aggrandizing streams of consciousness?

Did a former generation or beyond really think like such characters, or is there something uniquely troubling about the “Russian” culture such that the depths of such rich history encompassing misery, war, poverty, the tension between power and the powerless, the tradition of the Czar and the more authoritarian lineage of Stalin, the current power structure, etc.?

Perhaps the Russian people can relate more readily with such authors and comprehend the scenes of reflective streams of long-winded monologues that can only be characterized as “impassioned” and tumultuous by any standard of emotional fervor.

There are, however, such similar examples in narratives prepared for a Federal Disability Retirement application, written by Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers in response to the questions and queries posed on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.  Such impassioned monologues tend to include a lengthy history of past wrongs committed (i.e., Crime and Punishment); a journey describing tremendous upheavals and pain (i.e., The Brothers Karamazov); and of character caricatures that depicts a lack of focus and streamlined narrative (e.g., The Idiot).

Most of us claim to have read Dostoevsky; some of us make the further and surprising admission that we have “enjoyed” him; and some few of us actually continue to pick up his translated works and persist in reading him.  However, such pleasure-reading should be uniquely sequestered for the late-night fireside restorations, with a glass of wine or other inebriant to counter such impassioned monologues, and certainly only within a proper context of applicable content, and formulating such meanderings in a Federal Disability Retirement application by the literary device of stream of consciousness is not the “winning” mechanism to obtain a Federal Disability Retirement annuity.

Keep the focus and maintain a streamlined narrative in creating the nexus between the medical condition, the positional duties of the Federal or Postal job, and the impact between the two, and leave Dostoevsky and impassioned monologues to yesteryear’s literary classics rarely read, uncommonly desired, and never quite understood.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Analogies

It is the greater concept often developed through metaphors and similes; but to the extent they are now of use depends largely upon the shared cultural context within which we live.  If Classical literature is no longer the common thread of meaningful discourse, can references to them in creating analogies work?  To share that a person’s tragedy is more Shakespeare than Milton, or that the individual’s circumstances remind one more akin to The Road to Wigan Pier than Brideshead Revisited, can such conversations take on a relevant pathway if the intellectual divide fails to be crossed?

You can, of course, always Google and quickly get the quick rundown of the literary reference through electronic Spark Notes, or some other venue of shortcutting the arduous endeavor reserved in former times; but even that may reveal an inadequacy that cannot be overcome.  For, of what part of the book or author is being referred to?  Is it any particular play or poem, or the entirety of the work itself?  Is it any specific character or scene?

Some philosophers have posited that, by and large, we comprehend and make sense of the objective world through the use of analogies, built upon by metaphors and similes; for, language itself is a conglomerate of such literary devices.  To face the universe purely for survival’s sake is to forego the need for imposing the ordering through language; animals do not require it, but in the most rudimentary of mechanisms that advance warning signs and preemptive communications; it is only in the arena of human constructs where categorical imperatives need to be assigned in order to filter the world into more palatable and circumscribed entities for processing the complexities we have created.

Analogies thus communicate through the medium of shared conceptual constructs, where we draw in the recipient and spectator, the audience of our targeted comparisons, by relating a shared, known and familiar encapsulation of linguistic constructs.  It is only when the strangeness of the metaphor, the unfamiliarity of the reference, creates further puzzlement and loss of connection, that problems occur and relationships become fissures of language games gone awry.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal employees 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 positional duties, the applicability of providing a foundational construct of relating one’s story to an “administrative specialist” at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will often involve – and require – analogies by default.

Use them sparingly; utilize discretion; and, in writing up one’s narrative in response to the questions posed on SF 3112A (Applicant’s Statement of Disability), remember that this is not the time, the context or the best place to try out radical, untested metaphors, similes or analogies.

Thus, while those who have read Orwell’s work, The Road to Wigan Pier, as well as Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, may find a clever and appropriate place in one’s Applicant’s Statement of Disability to make some brilliant literary reference, it may be more prudent to stick to the medical facts and incorporate those supportive documents in dealing with analogies of life, health, and the nexus between the latter and one’s Federal or Postal job duties.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire