In media, it is the homogenizing effect of drowning out all non-conforming ideas, such that truth becomes the repetition of a lie, or at least the dominant perspective envisioned via a safe environment of simplicity. To be different is to challenge, and any disruption or potential pause to the status quo means a necessary change to present circumstances. That is why bureaucracies tend to resist alteration, like the chameleon which stands before a world changing at a pace of warp speed, ensconced in its evolutionary rigidity, unable to adapt but for its genetic code of survivability.
Medical conditions often represent such a threat to the status quo; it is something “different” to deal with, and when asked in terms of “accommodating” an individual with a medical condition, it may mean that others are called upon to alter the staid old ways of doing things. Further, it is a reminder of one’s mortality and vulnerability, as a walking exclamation point that “but for the grace of…”
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must contend with such a dualism of reminders, the resistance is palpable, sometimes hidden, often open in hostility and uncaring. Does filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee who is injured or suffers from a medical condition, seem like “giving up” and “giving in”? Is there a further point to be made by the Federal or Postal worker who continues to hang on and stay in, “fighting the good fight”, but now more towards internal acrimony as opposed to the “common enemy” of those outsiders who oppose the mission of the agency?
Once, when life was carefree, and we were caught in the womb of warmth where ignorance was bliss and the worries of our youth amounted merely to whether our moms would tuck us in at night, the shattering of reality and of “grown-up” things suddenly came to the fore, and then we stood, alone, facing that uncertain future which our forefathers whispered about, and to which we giggled and strained to hear.
But for the Federal and Postal worker who suffers 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 positional duties, beware of the echo chamber of life’s misgivings, as it may drown out the only voice of reason which calls for filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits and “moving on” with life, leaving behind the rest and residue of causes long forgotten and left unopened, like a gift without a child, and a teardrop absent knowing eyes.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire