Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Waves of Misfortune

Metaphors allow us to understand our circumstances; by relating the circumstance to the natural world around us, we feel a greater kinship when, in all other aspects of our lives, we have tried to alienate ourselves and artificially separate our lives from the origins of our own existence.  Similes, of course, always contain the comparative contrast that allows for a space between that which is compared and the reality of “what is”.

Thus, to say that “X is like Y” is quite different from saying that “X is Y”, even though we know in both instances that X is not Y, and that is precisely why we assert that there is a likeness between X and Y (because “likeness” is not the same as “sameness”) and also why we declare X to be Y even though they are not one and the same.  Thus is there a difference between “Waves of misfortune” (a metaphor) and “Misfortune are like waves” (a simile).

The comparative preposition creates a once-removed parallelism (simile), whereas the metaphor makes no doubt of the mirror image of one with the other.

Medical conditions are more like metaphors (here, we are utilizing a simile to describe a metaphor); there is no space or removal between the situations being compared.  To have a medical condition is not “like” something else; rather, it is the reality of one’s existence.  It is through metaphors, however, as well as similes that we describe the symptoms to our doctors and others, to try and help them understand what it is like to be in constant pain, to be depressed, to be profoundly fatigued.

And for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition necessitates preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it must be understood that the Federal Disability Retirement “package” is a paper presentation to OPM, and thus must by necessity use both metaphors and similes in order to persuade OPM of having met the legal criteria of a FERS Disability Retirement application.

The “waves of misfortune” must be described persuasively, lest they become a metaphor for failure in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application that results in a denial as opposed to an approval.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement under FERS: The Promise

Can you make a promise to yourself?  What would that look like?  Would it be valid and binding?  If not, how would we “prove” it?  Perhaps in a similar manner as Karl Popper’s “falsification” approach — of being able to come up with conditions under which a theory or a posited application can be “falsified”?

Take the following hypothetical: A man sits in a cafe and is clearly upset; perhaps he makes unconscious heaving sounds, and tears stream down his face.  A friend of his happens to visit the cafe, enters, sees his friend in distress and sits down at the same table, uninvited.  “What’s the matter?” the friend asks out of concern.  Hesitant but clearly wanting to share his feelings, the individual queried answers, “I broke a promise, and I feel really terrible about it.”  Pausing — for, despite being his friend, this particular person has a reputation for exaggeration and overstatement — he forges onward bravely and asks him to “share” his story, believing that empathy is the better part of valor.  “Well, I made a promise that… [and the reader can fill in the blank following the ellipses].  And I broke it.”  The friend, concerned and puzzled, asks: “And who did you make the promise to?”  The distraught Person A looks up, tears still streaming down his face and states calmly, “To myself, of course.”

Can such emotional turmoil remain commensurate with the fact of a broken promise made to one’s self?  Can a unilateral promise be binding, or can it be broken with as much ease as the creation of it in the first place?

We all make promises to ourselves, and perhaps an argument can be made that the very essence of “character” and “integrity” is revealed in how scrupulously one abides by those promises made and kept by and to one’s self — even if others don’t know about it.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must contemplate filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the promises made, thought of, kept or broken may make a long list in a cruel world of treachery and misstatements.  Perhaps you made a promise to yourself that you would make the Federal Service into your lifelong career; or, perhaps it has to do with not wanting to “give up”.  Whatever the promise, life intervenes and we all have to adapt to the changes of tumultuous circumstances.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS is never a broken promise, no matter the soliloquy spoken or thought left unspoken; rather, like the friend who comes into the cafe to give some comfort, it is a reminder that there are choices and options in life that may be a better fit than to remain miserable with a job that is no longer consistent with your medical conditions.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Information: Favoritism

There was an interesting article the other day, where certain public schools were attempting to banish the use of the term “best friend” from the ordinary and daily usage by students.  Now, the immediate reaction by some would be:  Uh-oh, here comes another “politically correct” movement that is based upon the foolish idea that social engineering can be attained merely by manipulating language’s daily discourse by simply expunging the vocabulary we engage.

That is what Orwell’s point was, isn’t it — in that part in his novel, 1984, when there is the discussion of the New-speak dictionary that would be coming out in the fictionalized society of Oceania — of a dystopian world that determines thought by controlling the available words we use?  By expunging and extracting, diminishing and destroying certain words, phrases, concepts, etc., we then limit the ability of an individual to engage in certain thoughts — thereby restricting and ultimately erasing any capacity to discuss and communicate such conceptual constructs.

Some positive idealists would believe that human creativity would somehow remain victorious over such totalitarian methods, and find ways to communicate, then create “new” ideas — newer than the anomaly and counter-insurgency of New-speak — and still come up with alternative words and phrases to replace any such attempt at erasure and extinguishment.  But even Orwell doubted the success of such an endeavor, no matter how hard we try; and thus the dark ending to the novel, 1984.

But back to “outlawing” the references made on the playgrounds all across the country or, likely, across the spectrum of the world — would two or more children still engage in the behavior of “best friends” regardless of the expungement of the language identifying it as such; and if so, what would be the purpose of extinguishing the language if the underlying act itself continues to remain?  Won’t children on playgrounds the world over engage in favoritism and concomitant exclusion because unexplainable attraction is the natural order of the universe?

Of course, social engineering initiated at an early age has a purposive direction which can be seen in later life — as in the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker, where favoritism prevails no matter how many laws, statutes, regulations etc. are imposed and upheld.  Fiefdoms of every kind will always exist, and totalitarianism will often prevail.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the concept of “favoritism” — growing out of the tender years of “best friends” but taking on another name and form — begins to take on greater meaning.  For, its opposite — disfavor — begins to be applied for the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who is no longer “as productive”, not fully a “member of the team”, and shows signs of slowing down; and then the harassment begins, just like when we were children and the pecking order always favored the bully and disfavored the weakling runts of the world.

At that point, it may be time to consult with an experienced attorney and begin the process of initiating a 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 — sort of like going and “telling” on that bully.  Maybe so — but it is a necessary next step.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Reality and poetry

A woman sits on a park bench surrounded by the concrete giants of looming buildings and antiseptic structures overhanging and overshadowing all but the remnants of nature’s detritus, with the cooing pigeons that bob their heads back and forth as they meander about in the contrast between reality and poetry.

And she has a book in her hands.  It is a book of poetry.  Who the author is; what the verses metaphorically narrate; how the images impact the quiet reader; these are not so important as the oxymoron of life’s misgivings:  A city; the overwhelming coercion of modernity’s dominance and encroachment into nature’s receding and dying reserve; and what we hang on to is a book of poetry that reminds us that beauty is now relegated to printed pages of verses that attempt to remind of beauty now forever lost.

No, let us not romanticize the allegory of a past life never existent, such as Rousseau’s “state of nature” where man in a skimpy loincloth walks about communing with nature’s resolve; instead, the reality that man has lost any connection to his surroundings, and is now lost forever in the virtual world of smartphones, computers, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Texting.

The tactile experiences of our individual encounters with the objective world is now merely the touch of a screen, and feel of glass, metal and plastic, and the pigeons we feed with such joy and excitement from park-benches manufactured with recycled materials so that we can “feel good” about the environment that we have abandoned.  And so we are left with the reality of our lives, and the poetry that we always try and bring into it, if not merely to remind us that there is more to it all than work, weekends and fleeting thoughts of wayward moments.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from an additional reality – of a medical condition that impacts his or her life in significant ways – the third component is not a mere irrelevancy that complicates, but often becomes the focal point of joining both reality and poetry.  Medical conditions have the disturbing element of reminding us of priorities in life.  Reality, as we often experience it, is to merely live, make a living, survive and continue in the repetitive monotony of somehow reaching the proverbial “end” – retirement, nursing home, sickness and death.

Poetry is what allows for the suffering of reality to be manageable and somehow tolerable; it is not just a verse in a book or a line that rhymes, but the enjoyment of moments with loved ones and those times when everything else becomes “worthwhile” because of it.  But then, there is the complication of a medical condition – that which jolts us into wakefulness of a reality that makes it painful and unacceptable.  What is the road forth?

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition now makes even work at the Federal agency or Postal facility intolerable, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is at least a path to be considered.  It is a long, arduous and difficult road that must wind its way through the U.S. Office or Personnel Management, but the choices are limited, and surely, you never want to abandon the poetry of life, and be left with only the reality of the medical condition?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement from Federal Government Employment: The broken record

Does the metaphor have any meaning for modernity, anymore?  Those discs made of shellac resin or vinyl, pressed into magical ridges where the needle would remain stable but for the warbling of the maze; but somehow that circular maze of ridges would have a scratch, directing the point of the needle to continue back into the previous ridge just traveled, like the lost child who cannot see beyond the walled ivy and keeps running frantically in circles, exhausted by the endless infinity of a pathway unable to be traversed beyond the limitless circularity of a philosopher’s argumentum ad nauseum, where tautology of teleology is likened to the boulder being pushed by Sisyphus.

But what of the individual who has never experienced the encounter with a broken record – neither in real life, nor in watching a movie or other inane television show where the manual labor of carefully lifting the needle by the undercarriage of a forefinger, then placing it gently onto the groove closest to the condemned one, possesses no contextual significance because of a lack of knowledge?

Those who have been dated by “aha” responses to such metaphors, take for granted such commonplace declarations; and when we meet with blank stares and confused eyelids, it dawns on us that there is no replacement for an actual experience of descriptive content.  For, the efficacy of the idiom itself is immediately lost upon an attempt to explain:  “You know, when a record starts to…”

And what of times previous to the introduction of the gramophone (boy, now we really are reaching back into time) – did the men and women from an era now past have such peculiar dialects that described repetitive droning of whining and complaining?  Was it something akin to, “Stop acting like a baying hyena,” where pioneers settled lands still dominating with lurking cries of wildlife and unsettled voices?

And what of foreign lands – countries afar and across the great oceans – did they recognize and identify the relevance of the repetition emitted by the spherical looping back upon a scratched surface, or was it ignored in other dialects as a ho-hum matter not worthy of creating a modern-day idiom to be added to the dictionary of everyday expressions?

The metaphor of the broken record is one whose utility has long passed; but for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition has become a chronic state of inability in performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the underlying and substantive content of the intersection with one’s career and life, remains relevant.  For, to the Agency, the U.S. Postal Service and the Supervisors, Managers and coworkers with the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal worker – they view such chronic medical conditions like a “broken record” – of a fellow Federal or Postal worker who cannot “carry his or her” weight, anymore, and begins to treat the “situation” accordingly.

Human empathy lasts barely for a day; pernicious antagonism continues well beyond.  When it becomes clear that the Federal or Postal employee will no longer be able to abide by the conventions of the Federal or Postal rules, and others begin to view the use of Sick Leave, assertion of FMLA and constant need to shift workloads to others as acts to be punitively responded, it is time to consider preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in order to have that undercarriage lifted and placed gently onto the next ridge of one’s life, in an effort to avoid the metaphor of being a broken record.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire