Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The negative of a photograph

In this digital age, the disappearance of the negative in photography is quite appropriate; for, this is an age that has attempted to expunge everything negative, both in form and in substance.  That thin strip of plastic film that was always retained, and carefully coupled with the “positive” prints, was preserved with the idea that the more valued sets of prints may become lost, distributed or otherwise disseminated, and in that event, so long as the negative of the original was retained, more could be printed out.

Just before the digital age, there were “do-it-yourself” machines – monstrosities that received the film, processed them and spit out two-prints each; or is that just the faulty memory of this writer? The double-prints were meant to allow for giving of one and keeping the other, just in case grandma or grandpa wanted one of those cute pictures where everyone simultaneous said the universal word: “Cheese!”

Yet, the concept of the negative still retains some fascination, despite its obsolescence in the modernity of the digital age; for, it is the reverse order of reality, where the lightness of images retains the darkness of reflection, and vice versa, because of the chemical sensitivity in processing the film.

And who among us recalls the ghoulish search when we actually did want to get another print made – of searching through various negatives, seeing the hollow images of figures staring back, trying to discern whether multiple negatives that appeared similar but not quite the same could be the one, by matching the angle of the face, the tilt of the head, or some mysterious figure in the background not shown in the original?

Have we all had that experience – where there is something that appears in the negative but not in the print, and attribute it to the ghostly mysteries that somehow and by mistake captured the supernatural world otherwise banished from this day and age?

The romantic world of the unknown has now vanished, along with the negative of a photograph; now, we are left with the virtual reality of a mundane universe, with nothing left for our imaginations.  For, the negative of a photograph is the mystery itself that always spurred us onward and upward, trying always to achieve the next level of accomplishment.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers 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 positional duties, the concept of the negative of a photograph should be quite familiar; for, once upon a time, that image beheld on that strip of plastic was the “real” you, preserved and retained for posterity as the valuable essence of a being otherwise forgotten.

Federal agencies and Postal facilities only care about the print that stays forever in the same pose and manner, unchangeable and forever identical.  The mere fact that a medical condition has “changed” a Federal or Postal employee is somehow rejected by the Federal agency and U.S. Postal Service, and that is why filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes so important.

For, just like the negative of a photograph, it is the medical condition in its negative aspects that always seems to be the sole focus of the Federal or Postal facility in determining the worth of an individual.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Suffering

It is something that cannot be avoided; it is part of life, of living, of engaging.  The history of it existence is palpable; the tactile images throughout can be experienced in images painted and words described; and the various religions embrace it – some as a foundation that allows for forgiveness to alleviate that felt by others; many, as a foundation to explain it away; and still others, to train a disciplined life in order to avoid it, or at least to contain it.

Whether by meditation or medication; through enduring or embracing; or perhaps even by enjoying some form of it in a masochistic manner; it is there because the body, mind and soul are sensitized in the evolutionary process of advancement to remain heightened for survival’s sake.

Suffering is part of living; without it, we imagine that life would be a constant cauldron of endless merriment, when in fact its absence would spell the very definition of misery and decay.

Throughout history, sickness, death and suffering encapsulated an apt description of life, whether human or otherwise.  Thus did Thomas Hobbes admonish the world in his seminal work, Leviathan, where the famous passage describes the natural state all human beings find themselves in until the rescue by political community or social contract, that the life of man is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”

But whether by social contract elevating the aggregation of humans into defensive communities envisioning civilization and cultivation beyond the penury of life’s misgivings, or some utopian belief that can result in avoidance of that which is inherent to us all, the fact is that suffering can at best be contained and limited, but never extinguished or eradicated.  Life famine, viruses, cats, weeds, moles, droughts and diseases – we can inoculate against and quarantine as best we can, but they keep coming back and rearing their heads up even after exhausting their nine lives and filling in the holes they have dug.

Suffering is, in the end, that which is there for a purpose – of allowing for feelings; of contrasting the opposite of ecstasy and joy, without which there would be no comprehension nor appreciation, as “being” cannot be understood without its flip-side, “nothingness”.  Thus, the question must always come down to:  Not “whether” it must be, but to what “extent” it needs be.

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 positional duties, it may well be that you have reached a pinnacle point of suffering such that preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, becomes a necessity.

Every Federal or Postal employee, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, must make the “right” decision for him or her self, as to the timing, the substantive event and the future securitization for livelihood’s sake.  It is, in the end, suffering itself and the medical condition that overwhelms, that often determines such a course of action, and that is a very personal decision that each individual must decide in the most appropriate of circumstances.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: That child we remember

It is as if we hold, within the inner eye of one’s consciousness, a fading photograph of an innocent, pure child – that child we remember before…

Before what?

Perhaps, the breaking up of a romanticized recollection of an intact home; or a period of natural rebelliousness marking a distancing from the carefree hugs, kisses and unselfconscious holding of hands, when puberty becomes the demarcation point of silly alienation; or maybe just before simply entering into the world of cynicism and loss of innocence.

Afterwards, does it continue to provide a positive impact to carry about the mind’s eye a picture of that child we remember?

After what?

After a lifetime of human encounters reflecting the soil of evil, meanness, indelicate indifference and manipulative motives suspicious of unclean thoughts and insensitive undercurrent of capricious targeting.  In those instances, how does one remain pure and reflect the innocence of that child we remember, without becoming destroyed in the process and becoming a mirror image of that which we attempted to resist throughout our lives?  For, isn’t that the fight we strive throughout – of trying not to be like the uncaring parents who neglected, the failed relationships we tried and the backstabbing friendships that we discovered too late?

We try and harken back to that child we remember, knowing always that we will never quite ever recapture that moment forever lost, and simultaneously recognizing that it is not an achievable goal, and even something not necessarily desirable to attain.  Yet, in the subconscious of our private and compartmentalized souls, we always hold an image of that child we remember, and believe that somewhere in the essence of our very souls, there is that remnant of a spark that has survived the evil detritus of the world around us.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, the realization that the end of a promising career may soon come to fruition will often recall that child we remember, if only because the uncertain future which looms ahead parallels the innocent fear that the child of yesteryear felt with trembling insecurity just before…

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, is the next step to protect one’s future before proceeding to the next stage of one’s life, and the process of enhancing one’s chances for a successful maneuver through the complex bureaucratic maze at OPM is best accomplished by consulting an experienced attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and to help keep the flame alive of promises kept for that child we remember.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Benefits: Edifying false gods

Are falsity and nonexistence equivalent concepts?  If you believe in something that cannot be proven, but nevertheless turns out to not exist but yet cannot be verified with certitude or confirmed validity, is it a “false” belief?  Conversely, if there is general recognition, acknowledgment and consensus of agreement that embracing a certain paradigm is an act of futility precisely because it is deemed to be “false”, but doing so provides a semblance and feeling of comfort and security, does such submission to falsity encompass any substantive differentiation from a mistaken but unsubstantiated belief?

The inane nature of believing in “false gods”, of course, has taken its own absurd turn of nonsensical meaninglessness.  We have now made of moral equivalence idol-worshiping of mundane objects, events and activities, such that the charge itself is so widespread as to no longer have any relative relationship with ‘sacrilege’ or sin of a mortal nature, leaving aside being merely a venial sin of inconsequential punishment of deeds or beliefs.  Whether edifying false gods or nonexistent ones, the point nowadays is to make sure that it isn’t something that will harm one’s self.

Throughout history, people have always harbored secret beliefs, whether of superstitious and nonsensically held ones that resulted in no or little harm (unless, of course, eccentricity and bizarre, somewhat out-of-the-ordinary behavior was engaged in under the watchful eyes of innocent children who ratted out on witchcraft and sorcery counter to the religious decorum of the town’s ruling class), and such discourse of irrationality and lack of methodological reasoning were acceptable so long as self-harm or interruption of another’s peace and tranquility were not engaged.

In modernity, edifying false gods has been accepted, if only because liberty, freedom and free will have all been conflated to confuse and deify the self, the ego and the echoes of rebelling against the traditionalism of past ages.  We love to tear things down, to defy the past and unravel the historicity of yesterday’s constraints.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have been too readily praying at the altar of “the mission of the agency” or the importance of the Postal work by volume and time, all at the expense of edifying the false gods of immortality, invincibility and loyalty to a function which has no end, the wages paid are often the deterioration of one’s health.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the only way to step away from the altar of workplace madness, and the recognition of edifying false gods is often accomplished only by realizing that no gods, false, nonexistent or malevolent, are worth the price of one’s health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Eluding becoming a cliche

What do we fear most, in life?  Is it to become maimed; to die a horrible death; to be left homeless, without family and bankrupt?  Or, is the greater and more realistic one, that of being relegated to irrelevance?

Of what does it gain a person to attain the pinnacle of wealth, power and prosperity, if the rest of the world scoffs, laughs and rejects with a dismissive nod barely acknowledging one’s existence or appearance?  Is it not that which we strive throughout our lives – not of accomplishing projects as a positive force of constructive advancement, but of eluding becoming a cliché?  “Oh, he’s not worth the time to even…”  Is that not the most fearsome of statements to mistakenly overhear from a friend or colleague whose opinion we value and cherish?

Imagine sitting in a café on a weekend (or, in this country, it would likely be a Starbucks or some similar venue), and you are partially hidden or obscured by a pillar-post, quietly enjoying your latte or some other foreign-sounding drink that is essentially a cauldron of admixtures involving sugar and this-or-that extract; the door opens and the brief chill of the outside atmosphere is allowed in; an order is given, and the voice emitted and uttered is a familiar one.

You turn around and recognize the familiar face, and begin to stand up to say hello, but think better of it because of an unknown companion accompanying the person, whom you neither know nor have any reason for suspicion of intent or motive, but because of the pause, that moment of comfort in giving salutations has passed, and now you try and hide behind the pillar for no good reason, except that you are steeped in the embarrassment of needing to hide, not even knowing why.

They sit out of sight, just around the corner from the post that guards your presence; you consider getting up, walking towards the entrance, and replay a scene you have already rehearsed in your own mind:  “Oh, Dave!  How are you?  Didn’t see you come in!”  Then, to quickly rush out so that the query about the companion would not be necessary to address.  Instead, you sit cowering behind the protective obstruction of this magnificent pillar, the stalwart of obstacles allowing for anonymity.

The conversation courses onward; tones undulating farther, closer, with clarity, with unmitigated boldness; and a sense that there is, indeed, something secretive in the subtleties of the spoken words.  Then, the pathway turns upon the familiarity of one’s own name, and the shuddering declaration from one whom you thought you respected, felt that you knew and considered to be a close confidante:  “Oh, he’s not worth wasting the time of day upon.”  Those many years of eluding becoming a cliché, swatted away like the irritant of a gnat or unwelcomed fly.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition requires 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, isn’t the reluctance to file often propelled by that silly wish to avoid becoming that dismissed person of insignificance?

In the end, what does one care whether others consider you a cliché?  For, it is never the opinion of relevance or significance as declared by others that matter; in the end, such declarations merely reflect the inner smallness of those who fail to consider the uniqueness of those so easily dismissed.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Civil Service: “Well, at least…”

Admittedly, any substantive insight into such a conceptual proverb used in everyday life is attributable to the eloquent thoughts of Yiyun Li, in her recently published collection of essays.  Such insights are so deliciously stated, with linguistic content so deftly conveyed, that the undersigned cannot refrain from grasping, grappling and attempting to add onto that which cannot be improved upon.

Well, at least plagiarism is no longer anything more than a forgivable sin, and not even a venial one at that.  The concept goes to the heart of comparing misery and quantifying misfortune.  When faced with a catastrophe, we minimize by comparative qualificationWell, at least…  As if contrasting a lesser misfortune on a spectrum of possible calamities will pull the pendulum away from the pain and sorrow it has reached, and compel a more balanced perspective and diminish the weight of heartache.  Does such a diminution of personal failure by reducing it to a lesser quantity concurrently minimize the sorrow felt?

To a grieving parent whose oldest child has passed away, while sparing the lives of another sibling or two; Well, at least…  At what point does such an insight fail to achieve its goal?  Would it carry the same weight if 5 of 6 children perished?  Could you still get away with saying the same thing?  What if she is the lone survivor?  At what point on the spectrum of human calamity does such a statement retain any semblance of empathetic import and meaning?

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 the positional duties occupied:  Well, at least he/she can file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits…

The fact is, for almost all Federal and Postal employees, that option is the last one they want to initiate; for, most Federal and Postal employees want to continue to maintain, extend and excel in their chosen careers.

In the instance of Federal and Postal employees, however, such a phrase has further significance, in the following manner:  the availability of an alternative in the event that all other avenues of choices become unavailable.  Thus, in such a context, it is not a quantification of sorrow or comparative analysis of choices presented; rather, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is a mere recognition that, in that unwanted event where a promising career needs to be cut short, there is at least the option of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Well, at least…

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from OPM: Dreams, daydreams and nightmares

Of the first in this triplet trope, the concept can envision two distinct avenues:  in a state of somnolence, to have them with minimal control of appearance; or, in another sense, to possess aspirations beyond one’s station in life or current circumstances that may impute dissatisfaction.

The second in the series is somewhat connected to the second concept branching from the first; it is a moment of reflective escape, where the reality of “now” and the encounter with Being is temporarily averted and subsumed in a meditative silence of self-repose.  Some have the capacity to embrace and become lost in such quietude of an alternate universe, despite a clutter of noises or the distraction of tumult.  Then, some would counter that it is precisely in such moments that fleeing into a parallel universe of a mental cocoon is necessary in order to maintain one’s sanity in a world replete with a curiosity shop full of random violence.

And, of the third, we again branch into a duality with the proverbial fork in the road; for, such infamy of uncontrolled images and voices while in a sleeping slumber constitutes the primary definition; but, whether in metaphorical terms or engaging in trifling hyperbole, we attribute traumatic and frightful events by describing it precisely by the term at hand.

Dreams, daydreams and nightmares are all part of our daily lives, whether awake, half-aware, conscious or sub-conscious in multiple and mysterious modalities of living; but they serve a purpose which, whether explained away by psychologists, therapists, pseudo-intellectuals or just plain people of tremendous insights and uncanny foresights, they continue to remain the foundation for maintaining the sanity preserved within the insanity of the greater universe.

Without nightmares, how would the inner psyche expiate the images and sense datum we have involuntarily ingested?  Without daydreams, what would man hope for, live for, in circumstances of squalor and decadence?  And of dreams, how would the subconscious sift through the visual and information overload experienced daily and in voluminous onslaughts of quantitatively overwhelming constructs?

Or of the second branch, where aspirations and hope for a better tomorrow, though derailed by screams of destitution and unhinged by crying babies, drunken realities and unsavory circumstances, yet to dream for a better tomorrow is sometimes the only thread which separates the crumbling heart from a tinge of a fading smile.  It is precisely these that allows for man to wake up the next morning and seek a better tomorrow.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find themselves with shattered dreams, escaping into a greater cauldron of daydreaming, or rustling in sleepless fits of nightmares unavailing, all because one’s career is on the proverbial “line” resulting from a medical condition which may cut short one’s dreams, daydreams and creating a chaos of nightmares, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, may be the first step in the aspirational discourse needed to regain one’s equilibrium.

The importance of trifurcating between dreams, daydreams and nightmares is a prescient step towards recognizing that the reality of one’s present circumstances may be described as a “nightmare”, and perhaps those sleepless nights are filled with them; but in order for the Federal or Postal employee to dream of a better tomorrow, the leisure of daydreaming must be allowed, but always tempered by pragmatic steps which must be undertaken in the reality of day-to-day living, in order to reach a specific goal:  That of getting an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in order to reach that light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, which is neither defined by dreams, nor attained by daydreaming, and certainly not a nightmare to avoid.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire