What is it about human beings that compel and necessitate it? Unlike the wandering Cheetah or the lone wolf, human gatherings have been the imprint of psycho-social requirements since the dawn of day. The tribal gatherings around the campfire; the Thanksgiving feast that celebrates survival and the new season; the corporate board, the large-scale concerts and the network of social media; and then, of course, that which is all but forgotten, and yet always yearned for: the private gathering of “just the family”.
Somehow, we lie to ourselves and soothe our own egos, suppress the truth by – again, “gathering” – the number of “friends”, “likes”, etc., and it has now become a quantitative game as opposed to a qualitative reality that determines how “happy” one is. In modernity, we have lost the whole purpose and underlying foundation for what gatherings are meant to be – of the interchange between neighbor and neighbor, the opportunity to listen to elders and the basis for which a society survives.
For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from an injury or disability, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, does the Agency, the immediate supervisor or fellow coworkers even “know” about the injury or disability, or even show any concern or care?
Each day, we “gather” together for a common purpose – for work, for the Agency’s “mission” and the “work-for-paycheck” agreement between employer and employee. And, yes, there is a distinction to be made between a “social gathering” and a gathering intended for purposes of work and productivity.
Yet, there is something inherently amiss when one’s humanity is lost in the process of this thing called “employment gathering” – where no one seems to care about the next person, and when once the clock ticks to the closing hour, everyone departs to their own private gatherings, whatever that may be and wherever it may end up. Of course, to invite a coworker to a home meal may constitute some form of harassment, and any gatherings to “pray” for another – regardless of what religion or denomination of belief it may originate from – is automatically excluded because of the offensive connotations of such an act; and so we are left with going home, each of us, and gather from a distance through the technology of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and email.
And yet, the Federal or Postal employee who has all along suffered from a medical condition, suffers still, and the only option left is to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the bureaucratic Office of Personnel Management, just because the “gathering” at work didn’t care enough to try and find a suitable accommodation for that Federal or Postal employee. Go figure.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire