Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Contested lives

We hear of such terms in specific linguistic contexts; of a “contested” divorce, or that a variable version of a testimony or evidence has been “contested”; or that the results of a certain race or game has been contested.  If you drop the affix placed after the stem of the word (i.e., the suffix or the “ed”), and emphasize the first syllable, it becomes a noun; whereas, if you engage in the identical mental exercise but intone upon the second syllable, it becomes a verb.

As a noun, it is normally relegated to a challenging game, a sport or perhaps some duel; when applied with the second word in the title above, it takes on a wider meaning that encompasses an endless spectrum and, unless further delineated, undefined in a disturbing way.  If denoted in a general sense, as in the statement, “All lives are contested,” the generic meaning loses its force; for, it is a truism which is rather inane in that, yes, all lives have facets of contested issues, and in that sense, it becomes a “meaningless” statement of trope and triviality.

Yet, that truism is something which we all experience.  When one hears the complaint, “Life is a series of conflicts and is a contest of endurance,” we nod our heads and know exactly what that means.  We all recognize that our lives encompass a consistent effort to contest (emphasis on second syllable), and that the contest of life is to endure (emphasis on the first syllable); and we must persevere to contest it (again, emphasis on the second syllable).

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 job, the truism that there are contested lives is a simple fact.  It is not just a matter of going to work – rather, it is going to work with a medical condition.  It is not just going to work and doing one’s job – it is, moreover, doing that and contending with a medical condition, as well as the growing harassment from coworkers, supervisors, and the Agency and Postal Service as a whole.

Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is also a matter of a contested life – for the bureaucratic process with OPM is an embattlement of sorts, and it only reinforces that inane, trite and trivial aspect of the statement, “We all live contested lives.”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Scoffing paradigms

Of course, such a title can have a double entendre or duality of meanings – that, in the first instance, the accent is upon the word “scoffing” with a lowering of one’s voice upon “paradigms”, and that would mean: One turns up one’s nose at the very idea of paradigms. Or, alternatively, if both words are of equally monotonous tonal undulations, then it could mean that the paradigm itself is one which scoffs at other paradigms, differing principles or contrary perspectives.

As to the first: There are those in life who declare that paradigms are unnecessary, and one needs to simply live life, take things as they come and forget about being able to comprehend “first principles” or other such nonsense. Indeed, that is the bestial side of humanity; animals and all other species live like that, and as the evolutionary perspective has won out and we are left with nothing but the biological counterview of life, so why not us as well in consonance with the rest of the universe?

The second meaning would presume the opposite: for, in order for a superiority of belief-systems beyond modernity’s feeble attempt at generalized equivalence of all such systems, there needs be certain paradigms that are objectively prioritized in significance, importance and relevance of application. In either meanings, while the emphasis upon the direction of the scoffer may differ, the central concept of “paradigms” remains throughout and consistently becomes elevated and magnified as the primary root cause.

Modernity has a dual problem (and many more, besides): On the one hand, nobody any longer believes in grand systems of philosophical import; thus, the Hegels, Kants and Heideggers of yesteryear will not become reincarnated in current or future times, unless there is a wholesale exchange of mindsets. On the other hand, we still cling to a tribal mentality – of wanting and needing to belong to a group that espouses illogical biases and discriminatory tendencies, if only to have some semblance of an identity unique from others; and so we embrace, by unconscious fiat or otherwise estranged ignorance, paradigms that we neither understand nor take the time to comprehend, but instead join in and defend by means of keeping company with other such ignoramuses.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who begin the process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, what becomes quickly evident during the process is that the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Facility will suddenly become encamped and invested in one paradigm, and you in an altogether different paradigm, and then the scoffing begins.

The Federal Disability Retirement applicant (you) are no longer amongst the “for the mission of the agency” paradigm, and you end up being a member of that “other” paradigm whether you like it, choose to, or not. Thus do you participate in the vicious cycle of scoffing paradigms, in either sense of the terms, without even knowing it. Go figure.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Minding the ‘happiness principle’

Is there such a thing?  Certainly, enough authors, gurus and faith-healers have claimed it, packaged it and sold it as a commodity to be prepared, marketed and purchased.  Somehow, we are all gullible enough to believe in it:  Just as sorcerers of old possessed powers beyond human comprehension, so we hold on to the hope that such secrets of soothsayers mixing the concoction in a cauldron of expectations may boil over with fumes and aromas we can smell into oblivion.

That secret incantation; those mysterious sequence of codes (yes, which is why the Da Vinci Code was so popular – until it was made into a movie and the audience realized the farcical nature when bad literature is transformed into an ever worse media script); or perhaps it is a deal of Faustian proportions – of one’s soul for the hidden principle, the fountain of youth, the corridor down timeless ecstasy; instead, of course, in this mass-marketing world of consumer gullibility, we cling to the anticipation – despite all historical evidence to the contrary – that there exists a fortune-teller’s abracadabra comprising a happiness principle.

Principles are the foundational guidance for understanding the causal connections of events that occur in the objective world; first principles, as Aristotle liked to point out, are important in their revelatory powers to comprehend the operational mechanisms of this world of Being.  If you don’t know first principles, or the paradigmatic principles that operate behind the scenes – much like the Wizard behind the curtain —  then you will always only know that it happens, not why it does so.

And so we go through life, walking and wandering the streets, seeing others smiling, laughing and seeming to enjoy life, while we stew in the solitude of our private misery, perhaps outwardly attempting to feign such emotional brightness while inwardly decaying with each day’s tumult of angst and anxiety.

In minding the existence of the ‘happiness principle’, we are everyday falling into the statistical trap of that famous quip attributed to the 19th century Showman, P.T. Barnum, that there’s “a sucker born every minute.”  Even if everyday empirical evidence refutes the existential reality of such a principle, we nevertheless hope against fading hope for such a white knight in shining armor – that armor of protective fallacies based upon a nonexistent principle wrapped in the cloaking of hopes unearned and never to be attained.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are down in the dumps because of a medical condition, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the reality that one’s career may be cut short and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits may be a necessity, must fight against the false hope that a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is the “be-all” and “end-all” of life’s miseries.

Medical conditions may continue to remain chronic; there will likely remain many challenges in the future; but the point of filing for Federal Disability Retirement is to allow for one to attain a plateau of hopefulness where one can make one’s health and well-being a priority, without necessarily minding the ‘happiness principle’ or believing in P.T. Barnum’s secret to success.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits for Federal Employees: The bugle

Unlike its cousins, it has no valves or pitch-altering devices, but must be modified through the movement of the lips, the extent of breath exhaled and the undulating modifications of combined muscles in the lips, tongue and throat.  Perhaps from the days of riding a horse in the cavalry, where playing an instrument while charging full force ahead on a horse stumbling across rough terrain forced the instrument’s player to modulate through strain of keeping one’s self from falling; in any event, its very lack of complexity belies the simplicity of the bugle, as appearances are indeed deceiving.

Whether playing Taps in that mournful tone, or reveille in that jarring sound as the signal to awaken for morning roll call, or the charge to execute a cavalry or infantry advancement — that frightening sound to Indian tribes signifying the destruction of a culture long awaiting death – its class of variety extends well beyond most choices provided.

Trumpets of all sorts may be included in the family – from Piccolo trumpets, slide trumpets and multiple others from A to G and beyond; but the bugle stands alone in its structural simplicity and reliance upon the creativity of the holder who dares to attempt to master its range of pitches by the vocal creativity and lips pursed in controlled spurts of exhaling the intricacies of man’s attachment to inert objects to fill the air with sounds unnatural but for the beauty of music.

That range of pitches – from the morning call to awaken with energy reverberating from a cadence of jolting magnitude; to the charging rampage of a galloping horse; to the sorrowful tears of life’s end represented by the draping of a flag upon the coffin; these, in their collective entirety, depict the spectrum of life:  Of youthful exuberance; to middle-aged hope and faith; to the black veil of a life well lived; the sound of the bugle encompasses all.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find themselves in that twilight of life’s stages – somewhere beyond the youthful enthusiasm, but well before the illumination reflected by the funeral pyre – perhaps it is the sound of the bugle in the last stages of reveille, before the first note of Taps is emitted; and the medical condition has blanketed the tone, quality and loudness of the music of life, and a further stanza of a narrative interrupted must be composed.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is like the bugler’s call to order, and sometimes the sound of music must be heard at the end of a piece, and a pause must be endured, before the beginning of the next.  That is the challenge and the beauty of the bugle – an instrument for all stages in the pendulum of life’s musical quality.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Government Employment: Parting grace in silence

Does grace extend even when the intended recipient is unaware of its attachment?  Can the undeclared withdrawal of revenge justified have its own inherent rewards, without the unsolicited admission left silent by anonymity undaunted?  If given the choice between leaving the scene where injustice prevailed and dominated – of wreaking revenge or parting grace in silence – which would we choose?

Of course, there is a greater contextual awakening to be narrated before such an event would occur – of quietly enduring the daily harassment, the constant criticism and demeaning remarks; of refuting, rebutting and reacting, as against an agency that initiates adverse actions one after another in sequential persistence of unfettered meanness.

From that erupts the natural tendency in thinking:  “They can’t get away with this”; or, “If I have to spend my last dime, I am going to get even with them.”  Yet, is the cost of revenge worth the time, effort and expenditures depleted?  What does it mean to attain “justice” in an unjust world?  If a verdict is rendered or a settlement reached, what is the barometer by which one has regained one’s reputation, reestablished that one was ‘right’ or recuperated the toil of anguish and angst expended?

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is not a surrender of one’s soul to an agency that has not, will not or otherwise cannot accommodate one’s medical conditions.  Rather, it is an admission that there exists an incommensurability between the particular position occupied and the medical conditions suffered.

That is the point made in the case of Henderson v. OPM, in which the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board reiterated the alternative but equally valid approach in proving a Federal Disability Retirement case by a preponderance of the evidence:  a 1-to-1 ratio between a medical condition and an essential element of one’s Federal or Postal position is not the only methodology in establish a medical condition such that the Federal or Postal employee becomes eligible and entitled to Federal Disability Retirement benefits, but additionally, a showing that there is an incompatibility generally between the position occupied and the medical conditions suffered is also a basis for granting a Federal Disability Retirement benefit.

Whatever workplace issues have been a part of the content and context of a Federal or Postal employee needing to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, once that decision is made to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement, one might consider this:  The past has passed; the present must be endured while waiting upon a decision by OPM; the future is based upon the decision of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; and in the meantime, where do you want to expend your energies?  You may want to consider parting grace in silence, instead of spinning the proverbial wheels heaping reactive acts of futile counterpunches upon those who know not the terms of justice.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire