Postal & Federal Disability Retirement: Meaning & work

A book of very recent vintage, written by an anthropologist, uses an 8-letter epithet in its title.  While it is always dangerous to refer to something without having read it, the various book reviewers have provided enough insights to recognize that it involves a judgment upon employment, work and the meaninglessness of many jobs held by the population at large.

There would be, of course, some criticism as to the validity of such a judgment, given the nature of being an “outsider” as opposed to an “insider” — i.e., from the “outside” (e.g., the author/anthropologist himself who makes a living by selling books criticizing certain subjects) perspective, it may seem like certain types of work retain no inherent meaning, but from the “inside” perspective (i.e., those whose jobs it is to perform such tasks, and the companies, corporations and entities that require that such tasks be maintained), elements of employment that outsiders may deem meaningless may contain elaborate foundations of meaningfulness.

That was, of course, one of the criticisms thrown by Marx — of the separation of labor from the value of existence, arising coincidentally from the industrial revolution where mass production and assembly lines in factories that exploited labor resulted in a disillusioning effect because people no longer saw the fruits of one’s own labor (an aside: Does that explain why so many people think that the original source of beef, poultry and dairy products come from the storeroom of Safeway?).

How does one work, make a living and concurrently retain “meaning” in all, if not most, of the tasks performed?  Anyone who has been employed for any significant length of time comes to recognize that the three are distinct and separable: work is different from “making a living”, in that you can work for endless and tireless hours and yet not make enough wages to pay all of the bills; and whether you work long hours or not, and whether you can pay all of the debts incurred or have extra spending money at the end of each pay period, the “meaning” one derives from the work engaged is not necessarily attached to either the hours expended or the money earned.

For some, perhaps, meaning is never derived from the work itself, but merely from a recognition that the work is merely a means to an end — of performing tasks in order to earn enough wages to own a home, start a family and provide for a retirement, etc.  Or, for others, perhaps a deep-seated recognition is acceptable, that life itself is like the task that Sisyphus engaged in, and the toil of work is as the meaninglessness of rolling the boulder up another hill, only to see it roll back down again, and thus repetition allows for the futility of all tasks great or small.

One’s resolve and the will to impose meaningfulness in the face of alienation is a testament to man’s capacity to seek greater good.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the need to continue to find “meaning” in striving often is closely tied to the progressively deteriorating aspect of one’s health.  When one’s health is at issue, “meaningfulness” of one’s work may come into question, precisely because one’s capacity to view employment as a means to another end itself becomes a struggle.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, allows for one to reorient the priorities in life that should not be confused: Health, family, a sense of accomplishment, and somewhere in that mix, a career that may need to be changed, abandoned or otherwise modified because of one’s deteriorating health and the impact upon the meaningfulness of carrying on where to do so sacrifices one or more of the mixed priorities.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Holidays and weekends

It is often a difficult time for many, if not impossible for most.  Holidays represent the heightened requirement of gaiety and relaxedness (is that even a word?), where people get together, families gather and children run while without knowing the underlying reason, if only to reinforce the belief that had already been in place from the previous year – that holidays and weekends are a stressful time.

There is the familiar refrain: “Oh, the weekend is coming up!”  To which the afterthought by the grump always reminds: “And Monday always follows.”  Similarly, with holidays, the anticipation is often better than the reality: “Oh, the joyous holidays!”  And yet…  For many, if not most, it is a time of greater stress, of needing to get together with obligatory family members, and especially with those whom one doesn’t even care for.  Exacerbating the situation is often an underlying medical condition.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the vicious cycle may be the weekends that are used to merely recuperate in order to survive during the work week.  Thus, instead of enjoying, relaxing, “doing things”, tinkering, etc., the weekend becomes a haven and refuge to regain just enough strength or rest the aching body in order to get through the grueling week of work.  Similarly, holidays become merely an extension of a weekend, and a 3-day weekend is just a longer excuse to hide away and lick one’s wounds.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a psychiatric condition, including Major Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, panic attacks, agoraphobia, Bipolar Disorder, etc., holidays and weekends can further deepen the heightened reality of anxiety and depression, as the stress of the holidays themselves and the anticipation of what follows after a weekend can become magnified beyond comprehension and tolerance.

Consider preparing and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; for, if holidays and weekends have become a tumultuous time of overwhelming pain and despondency, and not the interlude to be enjoyed and become excited about, then it may be time to consider that the impact of the medical condition upon one’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job is the underlying reason why the medical condition itself is worsening.

Holidays and weekends are not meant to be exclusively lived for; they are supposed to be mere intermissions where the rest of the week as well is looked forward to.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from USPS or other Federal Agencies: Solomon’s choice

Even in this age of millennial ignorance of ancients, literary or biblical references to arcane metaphors (while taking delight in such useless information as the minutiae of Sanskrit grammar), the general view that King Solomon’s judgment was profoundly wise, is accepted without argument.  Yet, were his assumptions correct, and do they apply today?  Is it presumptively reasonable that love of child would rise above the other emotions felt – of jealousy, perhaps, or envy of the other mother – and declare the truth of the hidden motive?  Is there a priority or order of sequence that necessarily mandates truth to manifest itself, when the choice is one of death, loss, sacrifice and the horror of splitting a baby into two?

Of course, beyond the significance of the epic story itself, is the metaphor we are left with in living our daily lives – of making a choice between honor and its opposite, or of Truth and Falsity; of enduring for the sake of X as opposed to sacrificing in the light of Y.  To embrace a Solomon’s choice is to accept that there is a binary presentation in life’s offerings, and while that is often the appearance of a case, it is the stark reality of the limitations of alternatives available, that makes a decision to be made difficult and unenviable.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must endure and “deal with” a medical condition, such that the medical condition has come to a point of interference with many of life’s major activities, including employment and performing the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, the options presented are often binary, and sometimes adding another to create a trinity of choices.

The Federal or Postal employee can remain and endure; or, if the Federal or Postal employee has met the minimum eligibility requirements (18 months of creditable Federal Service and an evidentiary basis of showing that a medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job), consideration should be given to preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

The “other” choice, of course, is to walk away and do nothing; but that is, in effect, no choice at all, for the time invested and accrued in one’s Federal or Postal career should never be discarded and forgotten, especially when the second option is there to be accessed.

In the end, perhaps Solomon’s choice was, likewise, parallel to that “third” option which resulted in the decisions made, and as a consequence, bore the fruits for the future Trinity.  To split the baby in half could never have been a serious consideration, just like walking away without trying should rarely be considered by a Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition which prevents him or her from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  Solomon’s offer was, of course, a wise one; for, in the end, he knew that such a choice was an untenable one, just as the Federal or Postal employee knows that filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is the one which will ultimately be the wise one.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Medical Retirement: Life’s Scarring

It builds through repetition of wounding, or because it is deep, jagged, or otherwise unable to repair through normal processes of cellular regeneration.  It remains a mark of a person; over time, fading through exposure to sunlight, disappearance of discoloration, and the slow erasure of the damage done through the healing process of the linear course of a lifetime, may allow for one to forget.

Traumas, medical conditions and chronic maladies takes time to heal, and time is the commodity which society relishes, values, and measures by the worth of productivity.  It is that segment of immeasurable continuity which determines the markings of a lifetime’s work; like prehistoric epochs which we name in order to neatly fit in the existence of dinosaurs and their disappearance through volcanic and meteoric catastrophes, we bifurcate the unconquerable continuum with significations of memorable moments in time.

Medical conditions and their disruptions to lives require time for healing; and whether it is the impact of psychiatric conditions upon one’s psyche and soul, or the physical manifestation of a chronic illness or injury, that commodity of value in the world of economics remains unsympathetically beyond the reach of most.

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 the Federal or Postal job, the acquisition of time becomes ever more important and critical as one awaits the winding morass of a Federal Disability Retirement application through the bureaucratic maze of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Bureaucracies grind forward as if time is nonexistent; but all the while, life must continue to flow, as rivers unfettered by dams and natural obstacles, the course of life cannot be interrupted by mere tragedies of fate.  The problem is, of course, that the rest of the Federal bureaucracy — agencies, coworkers, supervisors, managers, etc. — does not have the patience to wait upon Federal and Postal employees during a daunting administrative process in which it is already known that, if successful, the Federal or Postal employee will be leaving the agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

So, what is the reaction during this administrative process?  Sometimes, it results in an administrative separation; more often than not, to simply allow the Federal or Postal employee to remain on LWOP and remain forgotten, lost in the maze of time immemorial.

In the end, it is life’s scarring which remains; how one has been treated; whether the burns of fate scorched upon flesh or memory were deliberate or through an uncaring indifference. No matter; as life’s scarring is like an organic monument of one’s test of endurance, so the manner in which one approaches the wound will determine the character of an individual.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire