Friday, October 11, 2013

Eating the Elephant

by Pa Rock
Form Filler

My plan is to retire on February 28th, 2014, and to begin drawing federal retirement and social security the following month.    To my naive way of thinking, that ought to be as simple as giving my supervisor two weeks’ notice and then cleaning out my desk on the last day.

Forget that!

Social security is a process, but one that looks like it can be tackled and completed during a couple of quiet hours at the keyboard.   The federal retirement system, however, is another species of animal entirely.  The retirement package is literally dozens of pages in length, confusing and/or contradictory instructions for filling out each segment of each form, and requests for obscure attachments – some of which should have been maintained by the folks at the retirement system.  It will literally take weeks to prepare, then the materials must be submitted for an initial evaluation, and then, if the federal employees are back at work, someone will contact the applicant – me – with a list of corrections and further demands.

The government can put a worker on furlough status by issuing one poorly written form letter, but when the worker wants to leave it’s a whole different story!

I told my friend, Glinda, how frustrated I was with the process.  She replied, “Rocky, it’s like eating an elephant.  Just take it one bite at a time.”

So for the next couple of months I will be sitting at the kitchen table in the evenings, keyboard at the ready, slowly chewing the fat and plodding through the forms – item by tedious item.  

Once I learn this process, I'm wondering if it might form the basis of a retirement business.  I could call it "Elephant Eaten Here."

So much elephant - so little time!

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