OPM Disability Retirement: Accommodations and the Elegance of the Hedgehog

A French film (The Hedgehog) loosely following upon the novel (The Elegance of the Hedgehog), focuses upon the hidden life of an unnoticed individual, and through her providing a platform of unraveling the fears, aspirations, class differences and how we treat (or mistreat, as the case may be) each other based upon appearances and social constraints.  It is always the character of the child who uncovers the secret, as in the story of the emperor without clothes, and in this story, as youth has not yet been scarred by the juggernaut of societal preconceptions.

It is in the secret (and secretive) life of a janitor (for the French, the more refined title of a “concierge”), who hides her intelligence and love of literature for fear of appearing pretentious and thus facing the potential and threat of loss of her job attending to wealthy tenants — where the authenticity of a life’s worth reveals itself.  How the greater society reacts to an aberration of an entrenched social order disrupts the conventional manner in which people get along in a community.

The story presents lessons far-reaching beyond the obvious; and reaches into depths untraveled, including for Federal and Postal Workers who suffer from a medical condition and must contend with supervisors and agencies which view with suspicion workers who are “different” and do not follow the traditional routine of work and productivity. For it is precisely the Federal and Postal Worker, whether under FERS or CSRS, who must often walk with hesitancy and fear when they are suffering from a medical condition, such that the medical condition has begun to impact one’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job.

Like the main character in The Hedgehog, revelation of the “secret” of one’s true being — of the medical condition, whether physical or psychiatric — would mean the potential adverse reaction of the agency.  Instead of providing for an accommodation of such a revealed “secret”, Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service will instead counter the situation with predictable aplomb, and begin the systematic harassment and intimidation to further complicate matters.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS, is quite often the best option for the Federal or Postal employee suffering from a medical condition.  Like the character in the Hedgehog, the fear of retaliation for revelation of a “secret” which others believe to be disruptive to the social order, forces one to conceal that which proves to be the essence of humanity — that vulnerability is the true test of who we are.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Worker Disability Retirement: Life as Episodic Declarations

One wonders whether harm is not being perpetrated upon the youth, in the manner in which reality is presented.  Many seem to believe that reality is that which occurs on Facebook, Twitter, or some form of electronic media; and the interconnected nature of relevance in life cannot be decoupled from the episodic declarations as posted on such mediums.

For the next generation, how much more of reality will be defined by virtual reality, where “reality” itself no longer needs the predicate of “virtual”, because the subject has replaced the predicate? Contrast such an upbringing to a generation of older workers who struggle daily with technology and its practical applications; and while we all recognize the future relevance regarding technological innovations, virtual reality was meant to be merely an escape from the daily toil of the harshness of life, and never a replacement.

For Federal and Postal Workers who face the trauma of a medical condition which can neither be avoided nor replaced, the decisions contemplated for securing one’s future become more than mere episodic declarations on the pages of social media; it is the threat to one’s existence, and the daily encounter with pain, cognitive dysfunctions, and potential surgical interventions which dominate; but for the next generation, will such harsh realities mean little until and unless they are posted on social media sites?

Federal and Postal Workers of today understand the causal connection between livelihood, work, production, career, and the difference between the compendium of the latter and that which constitutes “virtual reality”.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, is an administrative process which goes to the heart of confidentiality, personal life, and answering of concerns about one’s future.  While some may in the end post something about it on a website, there are some things in life which should remain private and sacrosanct, and the guiding advice of an attorney and the confidentiality kept within the confines of an attorney-client relationship, should always remain.

Life, in the end, is more than an episodic declaration on a social media site; in fact, when the lights are turned off, it is the quietude of reality which continues on, and not the artificial glare of technology.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: The Cost of a Veil

Veils are meant to conceal, either in part or in full; and the color of such concealment is of significance to indicate the state of sacrament or ceremony.  Apart from religious significance and communicated traditions, however, most veils themselves are neither visible nor apparent, but rather silently form a conspiracy of covering up and setting aside, like backyard refuse and debris in the corner shed or behind the closed door of a garage.

Physical pain can be veiled; aside from an involuntary twitch or wince which might provoke the onlooker to make a query, or a sudden gait dysfunction which, no matter how hard one tries to correct, forces the stiffening of one’s limbs or spinal column.

Psychiatric conditions may be more difficult to conceal; from explosive emotional turmoils rendered by Bipolar Disorder, to the uncontrollable lethargy impacted by Major Depression; to the paralyzing effects of a panic attack or Generalized Anxiety Disorder; the human psyche is often the first to reveal itself as the gateway to a malignancy.

But beyond the human capacity to conceal and place a veil upon one’s life, what is the cost of such concealment?  It is the further downward spiral; and, perhaps one’s employing agency never notices the invisible veil, and grants superior performance reviews; but through it all, at the severe and irreparable cost to one’s health.

For the Federal and Postal employee who lives and works with the constant veil of fear in being exposed with a medical condition which prevents one from performing all of the essential elements of one’s job, Federal Disability Retirement through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is an option which should be seriously considered.  Whether you are under FERS or CSRS, the base annuity will allow the Federal and Postal employee to lift the veil and proceed forward with one’s future, perhaps into a second, alternative vocation.

And as a final note:  there is in most cultures a great significance in the human act of lifting one’s veil — to reveal that which is beneath, and to come out from behind the concealment.  It is often a sacramental act, and one which allows for revelatory exposure, out from under the darkness and into the full light.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: The Inauthentic Life

The converse of a life of inauthenticity, of course, is one in which there exists not a chasm between one’s appearance and the substantive content of one’s character; duplicity and a secret life are contradictions; integrity is the consonance between one’s stated being and the reality of the inner self.

The modern age promotes a life of inauthenticity.   For, with all of the social media outlets — of Facebook, the Internet, Twitter, email, web pages, etc., one can create an image of one’s self which is far different than the reality of the person whom we meet.   But more than that, who determines the truth of the content of one’s public image?   Such an impression is no longer based upon the actual encounter with the person; rather, the person who creates the image is the same person who determines the validity of such presentation.  There is thus no public vetting or verification of the image presented to the public.

Throughout civilized annotation of time, there has always been the problem of substance and appearance; indeed, the history of Western Philosophy is replete with repeated attempts at resolving the “problem” of appearance versus reality — thus, the need in modern times to unveil the reality of Being.

On a microcosmic scale, this is the problem presented to the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job.

The “hiding” of one’s medical condition becomes a daily necessity in the world of employability, because there is always the fear that recognition, unveiling and discovery that the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform the full positional elements of the job will result in dismissal.   So the Federal and Postal employee engages in daily duplicity — all the while killing him or herself and acting “as if” nothing were wrong.

There is, of course, a difference between such an act of hiding one’s true condition, from the person who utilizes social media to present a self other than one’s “true” self — the former is borne of economic survival and necessity; the latter is a result of an unfettered ego.

In the end, the attempt to keep undiscovered a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, will result in a crisis point where appearance can no longer mask reality.  When that crisis point comes to fruition, then the Federal or Postal Worker, whether under FERS or CSRS, should consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.   Such a step will ultimately allow for the Federal or Postal employee who has been living an inauthentic life, to move forward without the need of duplicitous means.

For the rest of the world, however, the life of inauthenticity will continue to thrive, so long as the loss of public means (or desire) to distinguish between appearance and reality is left to the sole discretion of the person creating one’s own public image.

It appears that the Western Philosophical problem haunting from the time of Plato and Aristotle has finally been resolved:  there is no difference between appearance and reality; appearance is reality, and reality contains no substance other than the appearance of one’s own creation.   The Emperor not only has his clothes on; even if a child points it out otherwise, the fact that he says it, makes it so.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire