FERS Disability Retirement: Refutation of Stefan Zweig’s Essay

FERS OPM Medical Retirement: Refutation of Stefan Zweig’s Essay, “Books are the Gateway to the World”.

Not quite a refutation, but merely a protest — and perhaps a defense of illiteracy.  Zweig writes beautifully; persuasively; in colorful prose that captivates; in convincing form — if not in logical argumentation, but more as a poet who is convinced that words, books, literacy and the spread of the written word is indispensable to life itself.

He ends with this poetic flourish: “The more intimately the man associates with books the more profoundly he experiences the unity of life, for his personality is multiplied; he sees not only with his own eyes but with the countless eyes of the soul, and by their sublime help he travels with loving sympathy through the whole world.”

Who can argue with that?  Who can so poetically refute and rebut a sentence of such insightful beauty?  Yet, it is not with the argument for books and literacy that is objectionable, but rather, the notion that the man with whom he met and befriended but who is later found to be illiterate — that this rampage of sorrow and defense of literacy is at the expense of this unfortunate man.

Consider how he describes such a person: “He is walled in by himself, because he knows nothing of books; his life is dull, troglodytic (Definition: a “member of any of various peoples (as in antiquity) who lived or were reputed to live chiefly in caves” — i.e., “cavemen” or “cavewomen”).  And: “I was shocked to think how narrow the world must seem to the man who has no books.”

True, Zweig may have felt pity for his new-found friend, whom he previously described as a person who possessed a “genius for mimicry and caricatured everybody”, and whom he found fascinating and of enjoyable company — until, it turns out, that he discovered his illiteracy.

The essay ends without a conclusion; perhaps he took the time (without writing about it) with the friend and taught him how to read.  More likely, they went their separate ways — the other fellow pitied for the remainder of Zweig’s days, the author convinced that he was an individual to be pitied.  But that is the criticism to be posited, isn’t it?  That we make judgments without judging ourselves, and unjustifiably when we have the power to do something about the ills we encounter.

For Federal and Postal employees who have encountered that very circumstance — of facing judgments by others while nothing is being done — of a Federal Agency or the Postal Service that has determined that you are not worth “saving” because of a medical condition that now prevents you from performing one or more of the essential elements of your Federal or Postal job; it is then time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS.

Don’t wait around for help from your Agency or the Postal Service; it is likely that you will not receive it.  Instead, consult with a FERS Disability Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.  For, in the end, the decision to take the next step to “help yourself” will be up to you, and you should not consider the Federal Agency or the Postal Service to help you as your “friend” — leaving aside whether they will even feel a scintilla of pity for you; they won’t.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: Recognition

At some point in one’s life, there is a recognition that a “gap” has been established between the dreams of one’s youth, the expectations of reality embraced in adulthood, and the lack of achievement one has attained in the final stages of one’s life.  It need not be a final moment of a gestalt-like profundity, where we suddenly realize with a declarative “Aha!” at some critical juncture in our life; rather, it can be a subtle realization over time, concluding with an expectation of acceptance, or of bitterness towards life’s unfairness.

Life is, indeed, unfair.  Two people can toil and sweat at one’s work and have starkly differing results.  One may become very wealthy; the other, constantly struggling just to live from paycheck to paycheck; and yet, the extent of cognitive or physical effort expended by each may be of little difference.  One may counter: It is not the effort expended, but rather, the value of the product or service offered.  But even that is not quite true, is it?

The classic example is the pay scale of a teacher — irrefutably of greater value than the sale of vehicles or mink coats, yet of relatively paltry return.  One never hears of a wealthy teacher; one hears of wealth attained through frivolous services based upon an idea engineered in the basement or garage of a computer whiz-kid.

Recognition is an important crossroads; of the disparity between what one expected and what one has achieved; of determining early on what is of value, of how one defines “success” as opposed to “failure”; and of resisting the idea that all of youth’s folly must be realized in order to be deemed a success, leaving aside whether success itself must be narrowly defined by a person’s pocketbook contents.

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 job, there is often a necessary prerequisite of a recognition that one’s Federal or Postal career is over.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS is not, however, a recognition that one will never achieve or attain what one originally set out to do; rather, it is a recognition that there is life after a Federal or Postal career, and that the medical condition has merely revealed an incompatibility between one’s Federal or Postal position and the medical condition that one never asked for, but a reality with which one must deal with — a recognition itself that is an important first step.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: Patterns of existence

If you live long enough, you begin to see the patterns of existence; and, perhaps, that is why cynicism begins to creep into the lives of the older generation.  When you have “seen it all”, does the shadow which looms upon the radiance of a midday smile begin to fade with the vestiges of dark clouds approaching?

The repetition of vacuous words emitted from the caverns of a politician’s mouth; the crime waves that never seem to relent no matter the spectrum of punishment versus economic investment; the inflationary impact upon the valuation of monetary policy; and the general rule that, for the most part, tomorrow will be no different than today, and today is the measure to determine the memories of yesterday.

Is there really a “pattern” that comes about every 50, 70, or 100 years?  Many of us may live to witness such patterns if it is the first in the tripartite sequence of numbers — but does twice in witnessing constitute a “pattern”, per se?

Say you saw that X happened when first you became aware of your surroundings after birth; and 50 years later, you saw the same, or “similar” occurrence; does that constitute a “pattern”, or is it merely what Hume contended, that the mere fact of B following upon A does not constitute causality, but merely a coincidence of happenstance of one occurring after the other because there is no “necessary connection” between A and B.  Or, is it that we attribute patterns of existence because we ourselves reside in such repetitive monotony based upon expectations that the room we exited from will still exist in fairly the same way as we left it upon returning to it — vestiges of Berkeley’s idealism and definition of “existence” wedded to perceptual departure?

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 his or her position with the Federal Government or U.S. Postal Service, FERS Disability Retirement should be an option to consider.

Just remember, however, the “rules” governing the patterns of existence: Don’t ever think that such a bureaucratic procedure can be easily maneuvered through; don’t presume that your case is an “easy” one; and don’t believe everything that your Human Resource Office, your Supervisor or even your “best friend at work” is going to tell you everything you need to know.  To do so would be to violate the first rule in the patterns of existence: Things are always more complicated than they seem.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The mouse in the night

They are heard and often unseen; a scratch somewhere from the far corner of the room; a blur along the space between the couch and the wall; and the mouse in the night scurries along, making some amount of noise more greatly enhanced when the quietude of a late evening descends upon us.

Should we put out a mouse trap?  The problem with that is that the dogs might come down in the middle of the night, smell the cheese and get his nose trapped and yowl with pain, waking everyone up.  Or, hope that the mouse in the night minds his own business, scurries about without anyone noticing, and we can all pretend “as if” he doesn’t live in the same house as you do.

Like spiders, centipedes and other crawlers, the mouse in the night is there, has been, and perhaps always will be; we only try and rid the home of it when we hear it and it becomes bothersome.  That’s how we often treat medical conditions, kids who are nuisances, and neighbors who are irritants – we attend to them only when they reach beyond a level of tolerance or a spectrum of acceptability, and then it is often too late.

When does “not yet” and “too late”, or almost too late meet on the spectrum of provocation?  Does the mouse in the night become the provocateur merely because we hear him and imagine the slow but steady destruction he imposes, or the danger of the wife or daughter in the house who may scream suddenly (or is that being sexist to think that only the female gender will react in such a way)?

The mouse in the night is very much like a medical condition, where it comes and slowly steals one’s energy, eats away at the energy one has stored, and scurries along the contours of the walls in a blur of running confusion.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to now consider preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the sudden realization that there is a connection between the medical condition and the slow deterioration of one’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of the job can be likened to the mouse in the night – you always knew it was there and that it was slowly eating away, if not by the noise, then by ignoring its presence; you just kept putting it out of your mind because of those “other reasons”, like the trouble it takes, the fact of facing up to it, the avoidance, and maybe even the hope that it would just go away.

But neither mice nor medical conditions go away, but remain as problems that keep gnawing until the hole in the wall becomes too large to ignore.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Government Employment: Chekhov’s gun

It is the ultimate principle of substantive minimalism, where extraneous and peripheral elements should be eradicated unless used, essential, or otherwise central to the narrative.  Teasing merely for the sake of itself is denied; a serious venture if always pursued, and open honesty with the audience forever relied upon.  Chekhov disdained and avoided the superfluous; his short stories and other works were paradigms of linguistic economy, where words were valued and cherished, without room left for an unused element.

Compare that to modernity; of Franzen and works where volumes are spoken to merely illustrate a simple point contrary to Ockham’s razor.  The “gun”, as the metaphor of utility or otherwise, first introduced in the first chapter or Scene I of a play, must by a few chapters hence or a scene or two later, be fired, pointed or struggled over; otherwise, never introduce it in the first place.  And of the razor of rational argumentation, the lex parsimoniae of scientific observation, let not human complexity and self-delusions of grandeur in constructing untenable principles of convoluted thought-processes cloud the simplicity of nature’s design; for, in the end, it is in the simple that complexity finds its apex, and of the complex, where simpletons gather.

In the end, economy of words allows for room of thought and invitations of acceptance; it is only in the crowded gallows of condemned men where cries for space echo into the chambers of unheard cries.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are in the process of preparing, formulating and 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, the principle of Chekhov’s gun, or its correlative paradigm of linguistic economy, Ockham’s razor, should always be applied:  Keep to the centrality of one’s narrative, and never allow the teasing of an unloaded gun direct the masthead of a sinking ship to tip too perilously towards the unforgiving winds of want and self-importance.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Cost of Character

Being daily denigrated is an expected course of treatment for some; for those who perpetrate it, the sport of demeaning is often thoughtless, reactive, and toxic to the core, and reflects a fundamental void in one’s own life; and for the victim of such caustic characterization, the incremental pounding to one’s ego, self-esteem and capacity for abuse results in diminishment of the identify of worth by small slices of reduced stature.  Such attacks may be overt and direct, while others may be subtle, privately targeted, and intentionally out of the earshot of witnesses.  In both cases, the damage can be devastating.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must confront this type of daily abuse in the workplace, the avenues of outlet are complex and varied.  Complaining or filing lawsuits often results in the mere circling of the proverbial wagons around the perpetrators, and suddenly an invisible fence appears where the victim is the “outsider” and the caustic character the one needing protection.

For those Federal or Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, and who receive the brunt end of such ill treatment because of the medical disability which impacts one’s ability and capacity to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the need to deal not only with the toxicity of a hostile work environment, but concurrently with the underlying medical conditions, makes for an admixture of overwhelming circumstances.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the best and only course of action left.  For, to stay becomes an untenable option which impacts and further deteriorates one’s medical condition precisely because of the toxicity of the environment; to walk away and do nothing is an act of idiocy, given the years already invested in one’s career; and thus the alternative of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes the most enlightened of choices to be made:  It allows for the recuperative period away from a denigrating source of pain, while securing a foundational annuity for one’s financial security and future.

We often talk daftly about “character” and the need to “stick it out” when the “going gets tough”.  But the cost of character is the price paid by the Federal or Postal employee who must withstand the onslaught of a bureaucracy which is faceless and relentless, while at the same time dealing with the deteriorating health administered by a medical condition which will not just go away.  The cost of character means nothing if the essence of one’s worth is not protected, and filing for, and securing, a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is meant to do just that:  pay for the cost, and safeguard the character of worth.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire