Tag Archives: Shakespeare

Postal and Federal Disability Retirement: Precipices, Edges and Flat Earths

When the earth was believed to be flat, to venture out beyond the known and navigable waters was deemed to foolishly challenge an inevitable fate; and to reach the precipice and totter carelessly at the edge is to defy and challenge the gods of fate, as Macbeth does repeatedly throughout the Shakespearean play.

Fate itself is a concept which has lost its meaning; that which is no longer believed, is erased through lack of usage, soon departs unnoticed behind curtains of anonymity.  For most people in the world, lives are lived as unmarked gravestones without headlines, fanfare or public accolades; and that is how it should be.  Seeking out one’s 5 minutes of fame; propelling one’s face in front of a news camera; stepping conspicuously in the background where a camera is being shot and waving furiously to get noticed; somehow, loss in belief in fate has been replaced with an urgency to be noticed for the moment.

For the Federal and Postal employee who quietly suffers from a fate hidden, unknown, or yet to be known, reaching the precipice, feeling like a tottering child on the edge leading to a deep chasm, or venturing beyond the safety of known waters, is a daily occurrence when facing a medical condition which threatens one’s livelihood.  Living on the edge is more than mere metaphor of tempting fate; it is a sense that the world is in turmoil, is uncaring, and is a harsh residue of human complacency.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits, filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is an avenue which allows for the Federal and Postal Worker to escape the daily sense of being in those situations of remote dangers, by allowing for a base annuity, securing one’s future, and giving an opportunity to remain productive in a private-sector vocation.  Most importantly, it allows for one to recuperate from the physical and mental ailments which lead us into unnavigable waters of dangerous precipices and jagged edges, for the safer paths of secure fates.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: To File or Not to File

The famous Shakespearean refrain is from Hamlet’s soliloquy, and concerns the choices of one’s life, of comparative analysis of meaning, value and purpose; but ultimately it is a question of choices — akin to Camus’ evocative essay in The Myth of Sisyphus.  Choices are what confront us daily; and some, unless we opt to proactively pursue the right path, are lost forever.

For the Federal or Postal Worker who has been separated from Federal Service, the angst of filing often prevents them from choosing.  But with a legal Statute of Limitations barring the Federal or Postal worker from filing after one (1) year of being separated from Federal Service, it is at a minimum important to file, than not to, in order to preserve the right to potential eligibility of benefits.

Not to file within the deadline bars the Federal and Postal employee from ever making an argument, ever seeing whether one is eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS; by filing within the deadline of one (1) year, one can always likely supplement one’s case, make further arguments, reinforce one’s case after the deadline; but if one fails to file within the statutory deadline, then one is silenced forever.

The choice of Hamlet is indeed a stark one, and one which Camus reiterated as one of “why” in facing the existential reality of survival; for Federal and Postal workers who face a statutorily-imposed potential for being barred forever, a similar encounter with reality must be faced:  to file or not to file.  Only the former choice makes sense, while the latter option propels one into the great void of nothingness and nihilism — a state of non-existence which one should never choose.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Applicant’s Statement of Disability

In most instances, when I am asked to represent an applicant at the Reconsideration Stage, after he or she has attempted to obtain an approval at the Initial Stage without an attorney, I find that the prevailing mistake made is the exaggerated verbosity of the statement itself. The old adage from Shakespeare, which (I know) is too often quoted (and misquoted), from Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 2, where Queen Gertrude responds by saying, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks,” is indeed appropriate and applicable to this issue.

While the applicant’s statement of disability must be detailed, complete, and accurate, it must not be “overstated”. It should reflect the factual and medical integrity of the medical opinions and findings as delineated in the medical records, documents and notes; it should never exceed the medical evidence in assertions, claims or scope. Overzealous self-advocacy is often the problem in cases of disability retirement where the disabled individual represents him or herself. To this, of course, another common adage is applicable: “A person representing himself in court has a fool for a client.”


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Thought for the Day

Have you considered the conceptual/philosophical distinction between acting and living, the difference between a stage and the reality of the life we live, other than the superficial considerations of a scene prepared for a specific purpose as opposed to a world as a “given”? For an actor can never act, nor a life be lived, before first understanding the underlying conceptual distinction between the two. For, consider the following: An actor, to be a truly ‘great’ actor, must assume the character of the one he acts, and in the very act of assuming that character, he lives, breathes, and assumes such a character. The fact that such a life is lived only for a specified span, at a given time, within the confines of a given area, does not distinguish that scene or act as any different from a life lived within a specified span, at a given historical time, within the confines of a greater geographical area.

Is this what Shakespeare meant when he wrote “As You Like It,” with Jaques stating, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven stages,” and he goes on to describe each such stage. But it is a play which clearly distinguishes between reality and the stage; for Shakespeare is brilliant in at once clouding the distinction while separating it starkly — for in this great play there is no incest, no deaths, and the only blood spilled has a distanced, fairy-tale quality; it is a play which stresses words above action and matter above words; with a character (Rosalind) who must stop play-acting at some point and reveal herself to Orlando in her own person; and Jaques ends his brilliant speech with the stark reality of old age: “Last scene of all, That ends this strange eventful history, Is second childishness, and mere oblivion, Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans every thing.” The reality of sickness, old age, disease, and loss of physical health — all point to the distinction between the stage of acting and the stage of life. Truly, actors must always read Shakespeare, because he epitomizes the combining of life upon a stage — the tragedies, the comedies, the conversations both common and philosophical; with the stage which reflects the philosophical underpinnings of the world around us.

The reason why we have “mere actors” today — in movies, on T.V., and in most plays (exempting, of course, Mr. Stoppard) — is because few read Shakespeare anymore; and fewer still read him with the passionate love that is demanded. Shakespeare brings reality — beyond the mere commonplace — to the stage; projecting the ideas, the historical significance, the unchanging concerns of human tragedies and comedies, upon a world which either ignores or no longer understands such greatness upon the stage. Shakespeare embodies all that Western Civilization has to offer in the embracing of ideas, words, human stories, and historical events. Why did this happen? Because Truth is no longer revered; Shakespeare revered Truth, because he revered language which expressed such Truth.

Further, a person can truly act only if he understands how the world is a stage, and how the stage is a reflection of the world — while at the same time understanding the profound difference between the two.