OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The picture album

Time was, every family had a picture album – that anachronism bound carefully in a large leather book-shaped monstrosity, kept safe where dust settles and mice scurry around; taken out for occasions where boredom is accentuated and friends or neighbors have stayed long past their welcome, and so it is taken out carefully, dusted off and laboriously paged through, telling of a history for each page, each photograph laid meticulously upon the thick plaster-backboard of a person’s history.

It used to be that we all had one picture for an event – or, two at most, once Peoples Drug (for those who are old enough to remember; and that, in and of itself, was somewhat of a historical marker – when “Peoples” Drug – the drugstore of the “people”, was bought out by successive entities of greater reserve until it finally became a nondescript, boringly corporate entity under the designation of “CVS”; somehow, something was lost when the corner drugstore started in a suburb of D.C. was engulfed by mergers and corporate purchases) declared a two-for-one sale.

Of course, we all kept in safekeeping those brownish negatives that neatly fit into those thin plastic columns (i.e., thrown into a drawer based upon the sequence of receipt) – you know, the ones you hated to slide out because you could never get it back in without bending them, and somehow you suspected that they were never meant to be fit within the columns of plastic in the first place.

Somehow, there was something quaint and innocent about a picture album that only had one shot of a slice of life that told a limited tale about a person’s continuum of historical detail – by contrast, today’s Smartphone and digital chip that can hold literally thousands of photographs, and the person who is willing to show all in a public display for everyone in the universe to see, by downloading, uploading, displaying and replaying, for a person barely in his or her twenties.

The picture album is an anachronism, telling in its humility, limited access and manifesting a humble origin of consciousness.  It is a relic that bifurcates a “before” and an “after” – of a time now gone and lost forever, replaced by an after that manifests a change most of us never asked for.

To that end, the picture album is likened to a Federal or Postal employee with a medical condition.  That Federal or Postal employee suffers from a history of that which most of his or her coworkers are completely unaware of.  And like the picture album that is taken out from the dusty bookshelves of a corner closet, when the Federal or Postal employee comes to a point of needing to file 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 reaction displayed by others is often one of boredom, lack of concern or even of interest shown in forced phoniness.  For, what others know or find out about a person’s life – even of his or her medical condition – is ultimately a private slice of life that is shared with quiet discretion.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: An Inventory of One

Throughout life, whether by force of habit or necessity of accumulated overstock of items amassed, shelves forgotten and goods remaining unpopular despite an overzealous belief in them “at the time”, we need to take an inventory of our “store”, whether concerning possessions, beliefs, relationships or business endeavors.  Inventories are difficult tasks; they remind us of the lack we possess, and the oversupply of that which we do not need.

Shelves of emotional overloads mirror the abundance of false confidence we placed in something; and lack of characteristic comforts tell of a narrative of avoidance, where emptiness echoes in the hollow passageways of walls without pictures, rooms without people, and loneliness without the crying sounds of children once laughing and giggling, and antique glasses tottering on the edge of tables unsteady as the racing feet of the little ones run by.  We take stock of our homes; review the performance of employees; evaluate whether a major purchase is wise; and inventory the hell out of other people and their faults; but in the end, it is the Inventory of One that matters alone.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s career, hopes and dreams for the future, the problematic characteristic of failing to perform the one and only inventory — of one’s own self — is what often prompts the disastrous results in the continuing pursuance of excellence and dedication when such loyalty of endeavors needed to be paused.

It is is good thing to be loyal; better yet, to be dedicated; and commendable beyond reproach to show a constancy of fealty to the “mission of the agency”.  But at what cost?  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, is not an admission of defeat, but a recognition that tomorrow still has a future, the day after a sparkle of promise, and the day after that, a new road for further life.

In the end, we become the enemy of ourselves by refusing and failing to protect and preserve the very stockpile of amassed fortunes we have ignored.  For, dedication to others and fidelity to a cause greater than ourselves is a sure sign of good character, but of what worth is it if you fail to take an Inventory of One, and determine your place in the future plans of a universe impervious to the pleas of quiet desperation rising in the time of crisis?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The idealist, the skeptic and the cynic

The idealist possesses the dreams of hope and promise; the skeptic, the singe of hurt enough to dampen the spirit; and the cynic, well, he is the grumpy old man who has seen it all, been battered about by the reality of experiential confrontations where tales make the sweat pour from salted wounds too hurtful for words to embrace.

Do they represent a tripartite spectrum of thoughts, feelings and motives, or merely unconnected differences demarcated by time, encounters and length of procrastinated envy?  Do we all begin with the zeal of idealism, pass through the comfort of skepticism, then end up bedridden in the cocoon of cynicism?  Does generational wisdom conveyed by the old to youth ever pause the bursting bubble of naive relish, where mistakes foreseen and palpably avoidable allow for the wounds of time to be delayed, such that skepticism never enters into the unwelcome gates of a soul’s purity?  Or, does destruction of the essence of a person necessarily result in a society where generational transfer of wisdom is scoffed at, and youth and its folly is celebrated merely because beauty is defined by age, sound judgment by pharmaceutical ingestion, and where mistakes made are linguistically altered by clever euphemisms which extinguish not the pain of experiential confrontation, but the narrative which meekly follows?

Whether as inevitable stages of growth and decay, or dots on a graph of spectral divergence, either and all are extremes which reflect the stage of life, experience and historical context which an individual has encountered.  For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker whose calloused soul has already been deadened by time and degree of harassment, the additional burden of a medical condition which prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one, if not more than one, of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, the time may have come to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, once the Federal or Postal employee reaches the minimum years of eligibility criteria, the proof by a preponderance of the evidence must be shown.

For such a Federal or Postal employee, it matters not whether life has yet to dampen one’s idealism; nor that experiential harassment in the workplace has failed to turn one into a skeptic; or if cynicism has already prevailed, all the more reason to file for OPM Disability Retirement before the pain of the medical condition consumes to the extent that life’s despondency has already wrought.  In the end, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is a necessity because of life’s encounters, and no man or woman can escape the scars of time, truth of weariness of soul, where the idealist lives on in the forgotten youth of our memories, the skeptic in the hardening callouses of our experience, and cynicism in the dying disregard of one’s mournful essence in losing the sensation of one’s inner being.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The Demarcation between Sanity and…

The dividing line itself may be a false option; for, there may well exist a spectrum of alternatives prior to falling off of the fathomless cliff into the netherworld of the opposite.  Yet, human behavior often reveals to us the tenuous hold we have upon this thin reed we identify as the “civilized” world, where conformity to standards of behavior are relatively followed, and the social contract between citizens constrains open aggression towards one another; and from the individual’s viewpoint, the internal mechanism of orderliness remains fairly intact.

We recognize, however, that there exists such a dividing line; how else to explain the rise of dystopian novels and movies depicting the quick regression into chaos and madness?  Then, on an individualized scale, the daily pressures, the stresses encountered, the bombardment of data, needless and useless information, and the constant obsession with our Smartphones — we come to believe that the demarcation is between sanity and the “other” universe, comprised of complete loss of rational discourse.

That is why we come to accept that a person has “snapped” or “gone postal“; and the new normalcy includes a bomb being set off in a crowded mall, and certainly for some endangered countries and populations, that is a daily occurrence to be expected, like birth, death, taxes and sweaty palms on a first date of teenage romance.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must work under conditions of daily and almost intolerable levels of stress, well comprehend the plight of that fragile decomposition of demarcations.  For, when a medical condition begins to impact the Federal or Postal employee’s capacity and ability to continue performing all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, the exponential quantification of stress levels begins to expand and show the almost-imperceptible cracks opening the inner resolve to “tough it out“.

The question is:  How long does it take, and not “whether”, but “when”?  The reason why the little old lady next door always says to the reporter, “He was such a nice young man…” is that we rarely take the time to notice the subtle changes of decomposition.  Instead, we tend to observe things in incremental jumps, like warp speeds of bouncing into another universe of experiential encounters, instead of being watchful to daily needs and wants.

For the Federal or Postal employee whose medical condition has come to a point where it becomes clear that simply “existing” as opposed to “living” has become a daily reality, the time may be now that preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has become a necessity, and not merely a theoretical option for an obscure future event.

The dystopian universe first begins with the demarcation between sanity and reality, and the failure to recognize and identify the source of deterioration; rarely is it between sanity and its opposite, except perhaps in timeless tunnels of inchoate universes where the whispers of crying fears shout out in chasms of darkness, in a madness we are creating daily for ourselves as we delay the inevitable.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire