It is the clash between an expectation and the actualization of an encounter, which determines one’s perspective of self-fulfillment of a belief, or a resulting dismay from failure of verifying the basis of a paradigm. Characteristic behavior is thus that type of human encounter which meets with, or exceeds, one’s predetermined paradigm of what one has already believed to be so; to act out of that previously considered belief system, by definition makes it fall outside of the realm of such expectation.
For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker, the bureaucratic complexity of the entire administrative 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, is normally not a surprise, and meets with or even exceeds, the expectation of an already-formed paradigm of what constitutes the “characteristic behavior” of the system as a whole.
It is the anomaly of the century when efficiency, helpfulness and pleasantries prevail throughout the process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, where one hears with surprise and shock that it was “uncharacteristic”. Sadly, that tells us something. While somewhat unfortunate, we must always remember that the road of every bureaucratic process is paved with personalities of every type. We tend to lump the entirety of an administrative process into a single cup and cauldron of judgment, but the reality is that there are multiple categories, just as there are different types of people throughout the universe, distinctly compartmentalized into: helpful; friendly; efficient; nasty; backstabber; fair; unfair; loyal; unpredictable; just to name a few.
The process of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM can be a stressful one, if only because it is based upon an obvious stressor to begin with: a medical condition which impacts one’s ability to perform one’s Federal or Postal job. But it is not the bureaucratic process itself which adds or detracts from the inherent complexities of the process, but the behavior — characteristic or not — of those who must help along the way or hinder the necessary transition of the Federal or Postal employee, from one of active Federal or Postal employee to that of disability annuitant.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire