It may give one a sense of short-term satisfaction; sort of like Chinese carry-out, it satisfies for an hour or so, then seems to lose its efficacy for fulfillment. Whereas, there are other foods that tend to last for greater time; and so it is with receiving news or information of other’s misery. It certainly allows for a comparison of sorts; of tilting balances imagined, or even for contrasting accomplishments forsaken, dreams yet unfulfilled or misery unabated.
Of other’s misery – we condescend, conceal our delight and contend that we care and “feel terribly”; in other words, we sit and do nothing about it, even if we were able to. Oh, we give the proper lip-service, of course: “How terrible”; “What a shame”; “What can one do?” But all the while, inside, we whisper in soliloquys that harbor those feelings of secretive annoyances that say, “Thank goodness it is the other guy,” and begin to take an inventory of relief and comparative analysis of how best to take advantage of the situation.
Is that too cynical a viewpoint? Does Machiavelli live within all of us? Perhaps not to the extent described. Then, what of other’s misery? At a minimum, it provides a contrast and places us in a state of reality that says, Maybe our situation is not so bad after all. Contentment by contrast of balancing the misery of others, however, is no way to live.
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 one’s Federal or Postal job, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the key to preparing a successful and effective Federal Disability Retirement application to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is not by comparing the content of other’s misery, but by a direct creation of a nexus between one’s own medical condition and the essential elements of one’s position description.
Forget the instinctively wrong-headed approach of asking, “Well, does X-medical condition qualify if so-and-so had the same condition and was still able to work?” Or: “There are others more bad off than I am, so…” So what? Federal Disability Retirement is a specific legal basis that requires specificity as to individual circumstances. It is irrelevant as to issues of other’s misery; it is one’s own that one must focus upon.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire