OPM Disability Retirement: Cycles of reality & unreality

The linear model of life is the preferred perspective for the Western world; the cyclical, for the traditional Eastern sector, as well as the indigenous cultures of the Americas; whether such an outlook alters the way in which we live is debatable.  In either or for both, however, it is the passing through of various realities and “unrealities” that is often overlooked, and not whether or not there is a straight and linear road as opposed to a cycle of returns and reenactments.

Reality is the being we encounter; unreality, the life within our minds and souls, depicted by thoughts, emotions, daydreams and nightmares.  How the two interact, whether in cyclical form or in a linear continuum, often defines how well we are able to adjust in maneuvering through the difficult passages of life.

We encounter “others” in the reality of our being; but as to the “other” person’s thoughts, feelings, history of life and other subjective issues, we know nothing about them except what we are told.  We could work beside another individual in an office setting and never truly know the “unreality” of his or her life, and when we retire, the office throws a party, and we depart and suddenly realize that the cycle of reality was a limited one, and the subjective unreality of another person’s life never really touched us.

Or, one is married to another for a decade, two decades, perhaps even three, and a cycle of reality is embraced where life becomes a routine, taking each other for granted through habit of form, monotony of repetition and predictability of actions.  Yet, after some decades, the significant other does something completely “out of character” – suddenly dyes his or her hair purple, goes bungee jumping or unannounced gets his or her nose pierced without telling anyone.  When asked, the reply is: “Oh, I got bored and decided to do something different.”

That is when the cycle of unreality suddenly surfaces into the boundaries of reality, and we suddenly realize, again and again, and are reminded fortuitously, that there is a subjective unreality that we can never quite pierce or fully comprehend, just as others cannot of our own.

That is what often happens with a medical condition.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are contemplating 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 question often asked is:  “When do I tell my agency”?  Isn’t that a peculiar question – as if no one at the agency knew or knows about your ongoing medical condition, and that filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM is going to be a complete surprise to everyone?

But that is, indeed, the reality of the unreal, where those around you are completely oblivious of the pain, the turmoil and the complications of those medical conditions you have had to deal with for so many years.  It is, in one sense, rather sad; but it represents the cycles of reality & unreality in an uncaring universe which prompts such an empty feeling when the question asked doesn’t quite have an answer to be given.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: The things we leave for repair

What we attend to immediately; that which we procrastinate, and set aside; and, finally, the things we allow to falter, to deteriorate in a progressive decline of disrepair — slowly eroding, perceptibly corroding, a sight for sore eyes, as the proverbial adage goes.  And what if it is ourselves?

Of course, the cosmetic and physical fitness industry have cornered the market and turned selfishness into a virtue, and self-love into a cottage industry; something akin to, “If you don’t love yourself, how can you love others?” (or some such parallel inanity of vacuous nonsense as that); or even a better one:  Persuade the populace to eat more sugars and processed food, then blame them for nationwide obesity while simultaneously hooking everyone on the technological steroids of smartphones, computers and the acceptability of being couch potatoes; make sports into a spectator sport, video gaming into a money-generating interest, and all the while, open the floodgates of information dissemination and tell everyone how intelligent they are, or could be, because you need not memorize any facts or have the capacity to engage in critical thinking; no, you can always Google it if you need to know, and oh, by the way, a handful of individuals, unnamed, will control the bias of information on the Internet, Facebook and Twitter from which your feeds of knowledge derive.

Slowly, incrementally, rust forms on the edges of that which we leave for repair, with the admonition that we’ll “get around to it“, that priorities overshadow for the time present; and when we have more “free time”, we will attend to it.  If we counted up all of the seconds, minutes and hours promised by a new invention or a technological innovation, the aggregate would surpass the number of hours in a single day, and we should all possess the wealth of unlimited time.  But rust in the glint of morning sunshine reflects a glow of beauty nestled in the quietude of timelessness; of those things we leave for repair, it is that growing beauty which reflects our diminishing selves.

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 all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties, the concept of leaving thing aside — important things — is well known and knowingly engaged.  For the work accomplished reveals the extent of self-denial; the “mission” of the agency, the volume of letters, parcels and packages to be processed at the expense of one’s own deteriorating health; the need to sacrifice for the good of the whole, at the expense of one’s own health.

In the end, for the Federal and Postal worker who comes to a point where preparing, formulating and 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 things that were left for repair are those which needed most that neglected attention; for it is the “I” disregarded, the “me” left behind despite the self-identification of a named generation, and the hollow and gaunt eyes looking back from the mirror of time, where we keep “doing for others” when the one we forgot about in the collection and vast array of the things we left for repair, calls in a desperate cry for the tools left rusting in the untouched toolbox of an undetermined future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Disability for Federal Employees: Waiting upon life

Being “pro-active” is a feature of modernity born of necessity when survival and the basic needs for human existence are essentially met; in days of evolutionary antiquity, when Darwinism ruled the moment and the growling pangs of hunger rumbled through the darkened streets of industrial ghettos and slimy slums of toxic waste dumps where hutches made of cardboard and corrugated tin put together effortlessly in a collage of unregulated stream of consciousness as a counterrevolutionary statement of defiance against pristine lawns and ordered houses designed by the evil eye of a home owner’s association — in those days of yore, being anything “less than” meant that you perished.

You see it in the eyes — Plato’s window to the soul — of shell-shocked dullness in a watchful glare of passivity, wide and seemingly alert, but failing to see beyond the fears and thoughts of angst like a permanent screen door shut and forever blocking.

If we bifurcate the world into doers and thinkers, it is the former who scoff and shrug their shoulders at the contributions of the latter, when it is thought which must precede action, where action performing too presumptively may leave a residue of meaningless accomplishments.  There is a middle ground, of course, where thinkers and doers coordinate and cooperate, in conjoined effort to plan, coalesce and complete a mapped task of purposive teleology; but that is a rare effort, indeed.  Most people wait upon life; it is not a criticism, but a reality which is reflective of a truism undaunted in this age of virtual reality.

The powerless grumble that there is a conspiracy of malevolent forces which hold the ordinary man down; the powerful, on the other hand, sip their wine and look condescendingly down upon the common populous, noting how they smell, think not, and must be watched lest the last true societal upheaval — not the American Revolution, but the French one where beheadings were rampant and horror became a mainstay for the ruling class — revisit the echoes of modernity.

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 one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the cost of waiting upon life can be costlier than the cost of doing; for, to wait upon the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service to “do the right thing” by you, is to wait upon the moon to drop from the sky in order to feed us cheese; bureaucracies, Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service are not entities of empathetic concerns; they are what they are, and must be dealt with in the manner purposive to their existence.

Thus, if a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of the positioned duties, then the next logical step would be to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether that Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

To merely wait upon life is to petition for starvation, deprivation and declination of a rightful existence; to await a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service to accommodate a Federal or Postal employee’s medical condition is to hope that democratic elections will be held by North Korea’s vaunted leader — but then, there may still be some hope, if you are either an accomplished barber or Dennis Rodman (if you are unsure of the references made as to either, look up (A) Kim Jong-un’s hairstyle, and (B) the strange travels of that former basketball star).

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Affirmation, Affiliation and Affectation

But for the middle syllable (the extra “ta” in the word), it is what people strive for; and like the thief in the night who leaves behind earthen footprints of his twilight misdeeds, the insertion of that additional combination of a consonant and vowel turns the meaning of the word upon its head, and leaves us with an artificial prose devoid of poetry and warmth.

The middle term is a favorite of sociologists and other “soft” sciences where anthropological studies determined the course of serious studies or of mere pretentiousness of purpose; associations, initiation into phi beta whatever and epsilon in uppercase or lunate form, characterizes the human need to belong, despite our contrary assertions and protestations that man, machine and a wagging dog’s tail are enough in this world of virtual reality where communication is accomplished primarily through pushing a button via glowing faces of blank pages and fluorescent screens.

As for the first in the tripartite series of syllabic partnerships, it is that inner essence which the child in all of us seeks, but which Dickens, Salinger and Capote all cried out for lack thereof, and depleted their souls in the course of searching for that which was never lost, rarely to be found, and tenuously held by a mere thread of hope and longing.

It is funny how much time we waste upon past hurts.  Most such narratives deserve, at best, a single night at a bar, a few sobs, and perhaps the generosity of the proprietor giving the gift of a free beer; and then it is time to move on with life.  Some stories, of horrors unimaginable but for the telling in quiet whispers in bedrooms locked, but then those who survive such tales are often the very ones with impeccable and impenetrable fortitude, and they don’t need the free drink anyway, leaving aside the heaving sobs and a momentary sympathetic ear.

Narratives are important for people to carry about; like manuscripts hoping to be discovered, we cherish them in binders of protective combativeness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have managed to cull together multiple years of survivorship despite the thickets of affectations imparted by so many elements of narcissistic behaviors, it is in the end the true affiliations which come to the fore when a crisis erupts.

If the singular sob-story told at the corner pub was not enough to replace that lack of affirmation wanted and desired for as a child, and throughout your career you have striven to replace it by becoming lost in work, career and sheer busy-ness, then the sudden loss of that coalescence of unending activity can indeed have a traumatic impact.

If a medical condition interrupts that innocent search, 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 positional duties, then it becomes necessary to consider 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.

But in doing so, just remember that, while the process of separating away from a career which engulfed so much of your time and energy may be an emotional turmoil of sorts, especially because of the wide affiliations garnered over those many years, it is the medical condition itself which must be first and foremost in contending with the crisis, and not the affectation of coworkers who suddenly show their true selves and gather like a pack of predators ready to pounce, no more than the affirmation you may have wanted from a bureaucracy which, in the end, cares not for your narrative, other than the effective one you must write for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in order to win an approval for your Federal Disability Retirement application.

In the end, all stories are told and forgotten at the corner pub of our hearts, in the fading suds of a beer gone stale, only to be retold by the next patron of the establishment where the jukebox fades with a selection of a song yet to be sung.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire