OPM Disability Retirement: Silent lives defying interpretation

Life is a mystery, and individual lives a puzzle untold.  It is the calluses that we develop throughout our lives that diminish our individual and collective curiosity to get to know the “other”.

We are born with a teleological intellect striving to unravel and unmask the depths of human essence; but modernity, technology and the singular focus of tangents often involving prurient asides distract and envelop with unwavering obsessions, but it has gotten worse:  no, not in any violent manner or upheaval of historical significance; rather, the electronic means of texting, emailing, Facebook-ing and other such means – which, if one pauses for just a moment to reflect, is merely a white page on a screen of illuminating blindness where symbols representing communicative ignorance are exchanged through the ethereal conduit of airwaves – give an artificial semblance of comfort that we are still engaging in the essential project of destined human activity:  getting to know one another.

When, in fact, the distance between words and the human touch; the distinction between the beep apprising one of receiving a message and the subtleties of an eyebrow raised, a grimace faintly made or a sparkle from eyes admiring; or the differentiation between black lettering upon a lighted page as opposed to the intonation and undulating mellifluousness of the softly spoken word – these, we are losing as each day passes, unnoticed, unconcernedly, and without any real hope of recovery.

It is, in the end, those silent lives defying interpretation which are lost forever on the doorsteps of unwritten historical accounts, despite the stories never told, the narratives forever undeclared and the characters uncharted because of the mystery of life and the conundrum of human lives.

History, it has been said, is written by “winners”; and if there is indeed truth in such a statement, then its corollary opposite must be similarly true:  unwritten and unknown accounts are forgotten or never written of those “losers”.  But that is only half of the truth; for, there are those countless bystanders who are never acknowledge, but fail to be inserted and included in the narrative of unmarked graves unacknowledged through the accounts of history untold.

We all want to be “significant”; we all want to “make a difference”; and for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition cuts short a promising career, a relevant contribution to the “mission” of the Federal Agency, or make a difference to an old woman living alone who waves hello to the Letter Carrier as the high-point of her day – filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may seem like the end of that teleological journey that we are all engaged in.

But always remember that there is life after the Federal workplace, and whether you are an active Federal or Postal employee, or getting ready to take that step to initiate a Federal Disability Retirement application, there are still silent lives defying interpretation, and yours is one of them.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Designing a different biography

Each of us has one, but we know not what it states; for, it is what is written and carried by someone else, and not from ourselves.  Yes, yes, we also have an “autobiography”, as well – a narrative of how we see ourselves, in what manner, of what form, in what scintillating and scandalous light.  But it is the collective viewpoints of all whom we have encountered that comprise, constitute and in the compendium of the aggregate, tell the story of “that person” – you.

What would you gather if you went about to all family members, friends, relations and relatives, and to a lesser extent neighbors and acquaintances, whether close or distant, and interviewed each as to the narrative they have about you; collect them into a coherent whole and arrange them into a comprehensible amalgamation for self-reflective, unpublished anonymity?

It would likely be surprising, with tidbits of disconcerting salaciousness – not necessarily involving any vice, but if honesty were to be an unequivocal mandate in the responses to each query, it is likely that one would be taken aback by the responses received, not only in content and substance of answers, but from whence the source of information came.

Would we, if given the opportunity, begin to design a different biography in response to the amassing of such a narrative?  Or, like most people, would we merely engage in defensive self-justification, cutting off relations, reacting with anger and disappointment, and like a child without remorse, regret from wisdom or any greater understanding than the idiot savant who can mimic brilliance from learned behaviors, sit glumly with self-pity and blame those who provided their honest opinion and perspective, and continue on in the same mold as before?

Designing a different biography requires, at a minimum, a capacity to still process information for the intended purpose of alteration of behavior; and like the metamorphosis depicted by Kafka, there are few who have the self-reflective capacity in order to initiate that which cannot be comprehended by an ego which refuses to change.  What chance, then, do we have for redemption?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition requires designing a different biography for a future event (becoming a Federal Disability Retirement annuitant) because of a present circumstance of altering issues (a medical condition that has arisen, worsened or become exacerbated over time, such that preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes a necessity), the concept of designing a different biography may require an honest assessment and evaluation of one’s physical and mental capacity, what the requirements of one’s Federal or Postal job entails, and when the time is ripe to consider initiating the long, arduous and complex process of considering the submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

In the end, designing a different biography always requires a moment of self-reflection – something more complicated than editing our own unsolicited autobiography.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Loyalties unrequited

Like the letter expressing undying love, returned without a forwarding address and stamped with a vengeance with ink smudges unable to erase.  Of course, such imagery is likely to be a puzzle and an unknown quantity for most, as no one writes letters, anymore.  What would be its modern equivalent?  An email returned, a text message ignored, or a Facebook request blocked?

Loyalties, on the other hand, are a funny thing; if left unspoken and implicitly assumed, each party to the “agreement” of loyalty can walk about with differing perspectives and alternative understandings.  The one with authority may well see it as a tacit, unilateral bondage; all others assume (most often wrongly) as being a bilateral vehicle for mutual benefit.  For many, such presumptuous loyalties never reach a pinnacle of an actual test; for, the test is in the crisis created, when that which is implicit must be expressed in terms loudly declarative to all.

Then, of course, the sad truth is that linguistic elasticity (i.e., in modern parlance, “alternative facts”, “hyperbolic truth”, or in archaic language, “lies”, “falsehoods” and “deceptions”) has resulted in the devastation of language, truth and reliance upon certainty of constrained declarations.

Language once reached a pinnacle of communicative practicality, perhaps redacted in the British command of subtlety and decorum, reflecting the sophistication of Shakespeare, Milton, Waugh and Hitchens, and even coopted by that New England appearance of relative kinship as characterized by Buckley, Vidal, etc.  Now, in modernity, language has become a free-for-all, where volume dominates substance and we can all maintain a straight face even when encountering a logical inconsistency, a methodological fallacy, or an outright lie.

This is a strange universe, a convoluted time and a conundrum of an age gone mad – especially when it comes to the communicative tool of language, and the underlying meaning of what is said, what is expected, and what can be stated with any meaningfulness at all.

Loyalty requires language – whether implicit or explicit – which consolidates trust, accord and like-mindedness.  The test of the viability of such an agreement can quickly become abrogated when life, reality and events intervene.  There is thus, often, a “crisis” which arises, which tests the veracity of that which may have been unjustly relied upon.  As in the heat of battle, whether one’s “own” will do as commanded, follow to the end and sacrifice for that tacit agreement, one will never know until put to the test.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who mistakenly believe that loyalty between the Federal agency and the Postal facility is a bilateral condition precedent – of work for these many years, and dedication beyond the agreed-upon hours of compensation, in return for commitment and caring when times become tough – the loyalty unrequited becomes a reality too quickly realized.

Letting the Federal agency know, or giving the U.S. Postal Service a “heads up”, of a mere intent to prepare, formulate and file a Federal Disability Retirement application, can readily result in unwelcomed reactions and initiation of administrative movements previously unexpected.

Family relationships often become frayed because of intimacy of care; friendships can fluctuate as the howling winds of clashes between warm and cold fronts; and loyalties can be mistaken as to whether it is unilateral or bilateral, and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application can echo the hollow reverberations of loyalties unrequited, and we often walk away astonished at our own naïve beliefs, now dashed and damaged into the hallways of life’s cynicism learned.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Moving on

That is what people want to do, and in the aggregate, the world around.  In engagements with others, there is a limited and quantifiable extent of patience.  It is tantamount to that ‘arc of flight’ that every animal possesses – as long as you remain outside of that safe-zone, you will be a suspicious entity perceived by watchful caution; once you enter and breach the invisible periphery of an unseen arena, you become more than that and declare yourself a danger, a predator and a spoiler of tacit agreements.

Similarly, that interest shown in conveyed concerns – of domestic problems; complaints about personal issues; workplace conflicts that exacerbate common tolerance of stresses experienced; of medical conditions, procedures and impact upon physical and cognitive capacities – may last but a day, a week, a month, or even a year; but then, empathy intersects with everyday life forces, and patience wanes in proportion to an unstated ‘arc of human callousness’, and the justifications begin to echo forth:  “He’s a nice guy, but…”; “I’ve never met someone who has so many problems…”; “Boy, how long is she going to go on complaining?”

We give lip service to the problems of others; we try and maintain that eyebrow of concern, that look of interest and that grim frown of sympathetic pose; but, in the end, people want to move on.

Words allow for linguistic comprehension; spoken communication may touch upon emotional neurotransmitters that convey and enhance the angel in human beings, but there is a limit to the capacity of feeling what a person experiences in the shoes of that proverbial “other”, but in reality, we always remain in our own shoes, constrained within the self-contained egoism of cocoon-like lives, and “moving on” is both the engine of human progress and the regressive malfeasance of an uncaring lot.

In the end, we are left to our own devices.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application becomes a necessity, the empirical experience of others “moving on” will become a familiar refrain, and one that cannot be avoided.

You are no longer part of that mythical “team”; no longer the golden boy or girl who won those accolades translated into merit pay and promotions; and because of the chronic pain, the loss of mental acuity and cognitive decline from the progressively deteriorating, chronic medical condition, the need to prepare, formulate and file a Federal Disability Retirement application becomes that indicator that not only may others be ready to move on – but, more importantly, you are ready to move on.  And the entities that “move on” go about in different directions, and such disengagement and extrication is a natural phenomena resulting from a most unnatural condition of human frailty.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire