Of course, the one that always pops up in one’s mind is the most ignoble of them all, with the image from the movies depicted over and over: Of a blond-haired, straggly and wild-eyed man with a mustache of extravagant vintage taking a desperate last stand against the charging Indians. Custer’s last stand somehow reverberates throughout the mythology of the American West, even though folly is mistakenly replaced by some view of courage or other laudable character traits.
It is the last stand of American Lore; but there are many others besides, some known, most in the private worlds that never become public. We all have them; the proverbial line in the sand, the wall against which our backs are blocked, or perhaps the final straw that breaks the camel’s back.
When Federal Agencies propose a removal of a Federal employee, it is the “last stand” both for the Federal agency as well as for the Federal employee. Or, is it the “last straw”? Is there a difference between the two? The latter, of course, constitutes the final act by one or the other individual or entity, and represents a reflection of having no other alternative, no room for compromise and left with no other choice. But that also describes the former, to the extent that it reflects a situation that allows for no further room but to remain resolved in whatever hill of pride or fortitude one must consecrate the grounds with.
Last stands, however, need not result in the consequences that Custer’s famous one represents. It need not be the final arbiter of a life well lived, and still to be lived. Yet, Federal and Postal employees 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 job, often look upon his or her medical condition as a “last stand” of sorts – one that ends one’s career and, in some mindsets, the very life that one is gifted with.
But keeping a balanced and proper perspective is important in all matters (though, for Custer as he realized that he had been boxed into a valley where there was no escape, perhaps there was no such thing as a “balanced perspective”), and the Federal or Postal employee finding him or herself in the “last stand” position of no longer being able to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, is still left with some alternatives – one being, filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
It is an option that should be seriously considered, for having the benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement allows for a second career in the private sector or public state or local government, and allows the Federal or Postal employee to continue in another vocation or career, thus avoiding the disastrous consequences that have been historically annotated by Custer’s last stand.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire
Disability prevent me from working regularly on a weekly basis. I was denied a hardship transfer to a closer office due to my condition. I am seeking representation for my dilemma.