Posted on December 11, 2014 in Administrative Law
The ronin is a masterless samurai; he is one who was released from any obligations from the daimyo, or feudal lord, who retained the samurai for protection and was paid a stipend. The literal translation of the term is often ascribed as a "wave man", or one who is let go to travel adrift amidst the turbulence of the ocean waves. In modern usage, it refers to an individual who is between jobs, but can still imply vagrancy or unstable character. For the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker, filing for Federal Disability Retirement through one’s agency (if still on the rolls of the Federal agency or otherwise not separated for more than 31 days, as the law stipulates) in intermediate transit to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, or directly with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management if separated from Federal Service for more than 31 days, the pervasive sense of being like a ronin can be overwhelming. When once the samurai was retained by a feudal lord of known standing and reputation within a geographical definition, the stature and status of the samurai was unquestioned; it was a bilateral benefit — the samurai walked with the name of the retainer’s aura about him, protecting him from slights and serious confrontations because an attack upon him would be considered as an assault upon the name of the daimyo; and, conversely, the feudal lord benefitted from the fear engendered by the presence of the two-sworded protector, the warrior who followed the code of bushido. With stated purpose and deliberateness, the samurai applied himself to protect and expand the vast holdings of the daimyo. Like the Federal and Postal employee who has worked these many years for a specific agency or the U.S. Postal Service, whether under FERS, CSRS, or CSRS Offset, the samurai who suddenly loses the favor of his retainer, is set adrift. The Federal and Postal worker often holds on to the last vestiges of favor, even when the tie and connection have been severed, precisely because to be set adrift amid the waves of life is a scary thought. But filing for Federal Disability Retirement for the Federal or Postal worker should be considered an opportunity, and not a loss; it allows for the Federal or Postal employee the time to regain one’s health, and then to seek the retainer of choice in the private sector and make a stipend up to 80% of what one’s former position currently pays. Federal Disability Retirement does not retain the stigma of being masterless; rather, unlike the ronin of old, it does the very opposite, and allows the Federal or Postal employee to become the master of one’s own destiny.
Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Esquire