Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The negative of a photograph

In this digital age, the disappearance of the negative in photography is quite appropriate; for, this is an age that has attempted to expunge everything negative, both in form and in substance.  That thin strip of plastic film that was always retained, and carefully coupled with the “positive” prints, was preserved with the idea that the more valued sets of prints may become lost, distributed or otherwise disseminated, and in that event, so long as the negative of the original was retained, more could be printed out.

Just before the digital age, there were “do-it-yourself” machines – monstrosities that received the film, processed them and spit out two-prints each; or is that just the faulty memory of this writer? The double-prints were meant to allow for giving of one and keeping the other, just in case grandma or grandpa wanted one of those cute pictures where everyone simultaneous said the universal word: “Cheese!”

Yet, the concept of the negative still retains some fascination, despite its obsolescence in the modernity of the digital age; for, it is the reverse order of reality, where the lightness of images retains the darkness of reflection, and vice versa, because of the chemical sensitivity in processing the film.

And who among us recalls the ghoulish search when we actually did want to get another print made – of searching through various negatives, seeing the hollow images of figures staring back, trying to discern whether multiple negatives that appeared similar but not quite the same could be the one, by matching the angle of the face, the tilt of the head, or some mysterious figure in the background not shown in the original?

Have we all had that experience – where there is something that appears in the negative but not in the print, and attribute it to the ghostly mysteries that somehow and by mistake captured the supernatural world otherwise banished from this day and age?

The romantic world of the unknown has now vanished, along with the negative of a photograph; now, we are left with the virtual reality of a mundane universe, with nothing left for our imaginations.  For, the negative of a photograph is the mystery itself that always spurred us onward and upward, trying always to achieve the next level of accomplishment.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers 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 positional duties, the concept of the negative of a photograph should be quite familiar; for, once upon a time, that image beheld on that strip of plastic was the “real” you, preserved and retained for posterity as the valuable essence of a being otherwise forgotten.

Federal agencies and Postal facilities only care about the print that stays forever in the same pose and manner, unchangeable and forever identical.  The mere fact that a medical condition has “changed” a Federal or Postal employee is somehow rejected by the Federal agency and U.S. Postal Service, and that is why filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes so important.

For, just like the negative of a photograph, it is the medical condition in its negative aspects that always seems to be the sole focus of the Federal or Postal facility in determining the worth of an individual.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Suffering

It is something that cannot be avoided; it is part of life, of living, of engaging.  The history of it existence is palpable; the tactile images throughout can be experienced in images painted and words described; and the various religions embrace it – some as a foundation that allows for forgiveness to alleviate that felt by others; many, as a foundation to explain it away; and still others, to train a disciplined life in order to avoid it, or at least to contain it.

Whether by meditation or medication; through enduring or embracing; or perhaps even by enjoying some form of it in a masochistic manner; it is there because the body, mind and soul are sensitized in the evolutionary process of advancement to remain heightened for survival’s sake.

Suffering is part of living; without it, we imagine that life would be a constant cauldron of endless merriment, when in fact its absence would spell the very definition of misery and decay.

Throughout history, sickness, death and suffering encapsulated an apt description of life, whether human or otherwise.  Thus did Thomas Hobbes admonish the world in his seminal work, Leviathan, where the famous passage describes the natural state all human beings find themselves in until the rescue by political community or social contract, that the life of man is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”

But whether by social contract elevating the aggregation of humans into defensive communities envisioning civilization and cultivation beyond the penury of life’s misgivings, or some utopian belief that can result in avoidance of that which is inherent to us all, the fact is that suffering can at best be contained and limited, but never extinguished or eradicated.  Life famine, viruses, cats, weeds, moles, droughts and diseases – we can inoculate against and quarantine as best we can, but they keep coming back and rearing their heads up even after exhausting their nine lives and filling in the holes they have dug.

Suffering is, in the end, that which is there for a purpose – of allowing for feelings; of contrasting the opposite of ecstasy and joy, without which there would be no comprehension nor appreciation, as “being” cannot be understood without its flip-side, “nothingness”.  Thus, the question must always come down to:  Not “whether” it must be, but to what “extent” it needs be.

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 positional duties, it may well be that you have reached a pinnacle point of suffering such that preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, becomes a necessity.

Every Federal or Postal employee, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, must make the “right” decision for him or her self, as to the timing, the substantive event and the future securitization for livelihood’s sake.  It is, in the end, suffering itself and the medical condition that overwhelms, that often determines such a course of action, and that is a very personal decision that each individual must decide in the most appropriate of circumstances.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: No time for empathy

Perhaps its disappearance and rarer occurrences are not because of defection of angels and loss of virtue from the circumference of human character, but for a much simpler reason:  We have no time for it, nor patience, nor capacity to embrace.  Often, the intersection between the reality of our social constructs and the loss of moral foundations mixes and makes obscure the ability to assign blame and causal connection to one or the other, but it is the cumulative and inseparable combination that results in the dire consequences we witness.

This technologically sophisticated world has no time for empathy.  All of that incessant talk about “connecting” and the importance of remaining constantly online, in-tune and involved in the virtual universe of Facebook, Snapchat, Tweets, text messaging, cellphone and other such modalities of electronic connectivity, the reality is that – from a purely objective perspective – each of the methodologies of communication are comprised of an illuminated screen with written words without warmth, human feeling nor organic nerve endings.

We communicate by means of those androids we created, expecting that exponential quantification of mechanical complexities can somehow qualitatively enhance our humanity, when in fact each such invention insidiously depletes and deteriorates.

Once, we scoffed at Chiefs and other indigenous characters who believed that the mystical capturing of one’s image by cameras and Daguerreotypes robbed and confined one’s soul, and now we make fun of those who believe that human contact is lessened by the tools of mechanized warfare; and so we decimated all tribes and their leaders, and leave behind in history books lost in the dusty shelves of an unread past the images robbed and lessened, and arrogantly giggle at those who complain of modernity and the technology of communication.

Empathy takes time.  We have no time left.

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 one’s Federal or Postal position, if waiting upon one’s agency to reveal and manifest some semblance of human empathy has been a patient discourse of frustration, you will not be the only one to experience such disappointment.

The fact is, empathy is a rare commodity, and showing its face of value is a search of futility more and more each day because of its scarcity.

Waiting for the Federal Agency or Postal Facility to accommodate your medical conditions?  Empathy is required, and nonexistent.  Expecting helpful information and cooperation from your Human Resource Office without fear of leaking sensitive information to coworkers and supervisors?  Empathy is necessitated, but clearly lacking.  There is no time for empathy, and it is better to begin the process of preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application without relying upon that which cannot be found even in the far corners of humanoid tablets we sit and stare at each day.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Hesitant Hole

The famous one, of course, and the one which draws the imagination, is depicted in Lewis Carroll’s tale of Alice and her journey down the rabbit’s abyss; another, the one which determines the relative shortcomings of weather predictability, but that one is guided more by shadows and perceptions from above, as opposed to the one dug below; or, there is the one which we dig for ourselves, and the proverbial timelessness of our foolish deeds.

Of the first, we remember the endless stretch of our imaginations which is expanded by the creativity of the author and the world of fantasy; the second, the reality of the dread we feel for the weather, the cold and the shortened days of winter when we yearn for the coming lull of summer warmth; and of the latter, it reminds us that the consequences of our own misdeeds continue to haunt us despite trepidation and timidity.

Do holes have a character?  Are some holes dug with delight?  Like deep caverns reaching beneath sandcastles on dreamy days of childhood laughter echoing against the wind and waves of salted air; or of the deep crevices and potholes in roads of concrete and steel, when the shifting tectonic forces of nature collide with man’s attempt to construct artificial barriers against timeless changes of fortitude and fear; and the one’s we claw at.

The large ones created by bulldozers and other machines, do they not unravel the once-concealed arrogance of man?  And the careful pawing of the delicate hand in the timeless sand, where castles crumble with trepidations of joy?  But it is the grownup’s attempts at escape, of creating a hiding place where adulthood no longer allows for Alice’s wanderings into a virtual world of imagination and creative loss, and the dread of reality bearing upon the fearful universe we cannot understand, fail to navigate and refuse to negotiate.

The world is indeed a fearful place, and we wish there would always be a rabbit hole to fall into, if only to escape the harshness of our own misgivings.  But beyond that hole into which we inadvertently fall, it is the one’s we dig for ourselves — hesitantly — which create the greatest of calamities.  For, when we do it with trepidation and fear, it is the slow and incremental depth and vastness of it which escapes our immediate attention.

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 positional duties with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, it is that hesitation which continues to create the deepened caverns of choices for future security and certainty.

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 always a difficult decision to make; indeed, filing for OPM medical retirement means that a change is forthcoming, both in career and in finances.  But because the entire administrative process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is a long and arduous road to take, it is the hesitant hole which we dig by procrastinating, delaying and obfuscating that often makes for that seemingly endless fall from grace which Alice kept wondering about; but for her, at least she knew that the hole she fell into was the creation of the rabbit she pursued, and not the hesitant hole of one’s own making into which we cannot dig ourselves out from.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The Future of Now

Human beings have the unlimited capacity of projecting into the future, such that a present picture of what may occur some time hence can be visualized; but whether and how many bring the future to the fore, such that the present becomes encompassed into the reflective reality of current circumstances, is of an imaginative rendering few take the time to engage in.

By focusing upon the future as some ethereal fog somewhere in the distant netherworlds, we can justify the tendency to procrastinate and kick the proverbial can down the road; and, similarly, we can get lost and embroiled in the problems of the now and today, and groan with delicious consternation about the inhumanity and uncaring nature of the world.  But to meld and cross the lines of future and now by projecting forward, then bringing back, such that the future becomes the now in our enlivened universe of deadened souls, is to plan for a time hence in real time of current clockwork.  It is an exercise of the imagination which is necessary in order to better prepare both for today and for tomorrow.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact and prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, it is important to consider those matters not just in linear form, but as a reality of clashing values and systematic interludes of conflicting confidences.  Yes, you want to continue on, but does the current state of pain and debilitating medical conditions allow for such expectations?  Yes, what you decide today will impact your future in ways financial, medical and career-wise, but does delaying consideration now change such a projection of future events?

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is never an easy dictate of imaginative musings; but when the warning signs are emitted, both from one’s own body as well as from the harassing actions of one’s own agency and the U.S. Postal Service, the reality is that the future of now, and the now of one’s future, have coalesced into a moment of necessity where time stands still and the world is about to shift in directions beyond your control, unless you take those affirmative steps necessary to secure the benefits for a future uncertain at a date unknown.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire