One of Thomas Kuhn’s major works, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, provides an excellent historical analysis, as well as a philosophical proposal, of how science works — not in a progressive linear fashion as one would expect and anticipate, but rather in erratic paradigm shifts based upon pragmatic considerations of that which works, replacing outmoded or unworkable models of inefficiency.
The book itself is instructive on how, in a macro sense, the scientific community, with all of its fallibilities, works with fits and starts; in a micro perspective, it is profoundly revelatory on how individual human beings operate in this world. We all carry around paradigms; of who we are; what role we play in our family, our greater community, and in the historicity of our involvement.
Often, however, the outside world, through all of its influences and mandates, will force a change of our internal paradigm; at other times, we decide in our own volition to alter and tinker with the paradigm. For Federal or Postal employees who are forced to contemplate filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the upheaval of a sudden career change, of a self-realization that one is no longer that youthful, energetic colleague who is efficient and competent, but rather a medically disabled employee, is often a devastating shift in one’s self-image and the paradigm which one carries about within the vast world of empathetic devoid.
Yet such a paradigm shift is necessary.
The good news is that Federal Disability Retirement is itself a paradigm which contemplates future potential for a second vocation; it allows for Federal and Postal employees to obtain an annuity, then to go into the private sector and continue to work, and make up to 80% of what one’s former Federal job currently pays. Federal Disability Retirement is not a paradigm of “total disability”; it is one based upon a slight amendment to one’s original paradigm, with a view towards a brighter future.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire