It is the squeeze that we abhor, the suspension of life during that time. Like the craven soul that is relegated to purgatory or the mass murderer that must await the culmination of the sentence imposed, it is the period in-between that is wasted because we are frozen in time by the certainty of the past already ensconced and the future that is determined but yet to be fulfilled. That is the rub, isn’t it?
The uncertainty; whether the future can be altered or modified; or has fate already made an irreversible decision and judgment?
When Scrooge encounters that ghostly apparition representing the future in Dickens’ classic tale, A Christmas Carol, isn’t that the question posed – whether the course of future events as foretold could be altered, modified, reversed or otherwise replaced? But while we wait, what can be done? For, in reality, it is too often thought that only the judgment rendered can then be worked upon, worked around or somehow accepted submissively as fated karma that cannot be countered.
Thus is that the reaction of Federal and Postal workers who suffer 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 the Federal or Postal position – it becomes the period “in-between”.
It is the “in-between” doctor’s appointments to see whether there is any hope of getting better; “in-between” performance reviews to see if anyone at work has noticed; “in-between” temporary teleworking arrangements to see if the Federal Agency can extend the authorization; “in-between” surgery and recovery to see if you can go back to full duty; and on and on, “in-between” the crazy universe of a medical condition and a dying hope for a future withering on the vines of other’s expectations.
It is like being stuck in mud, frozen in time, watching as the impending future comes upon you.
However, there is an affirmative step that can be taken to begin the process of altering, modifying and changing the course of an expected future event – by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.
While filing a Federal Disability Retirement application may not be a solution to the medical condition itself, it is a step towards altering and modifying the course of future events that are controlled by the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, by accessing an employment disability benefit that recognizes that you can no longer perform the essential elements of your particular Federal or Postal job, but there may be other things in life that you may be able to pursue.
That is how the period in-between can better be embraced, by making sure that the future does not end with a definitive period at all, but merely by a comma that represents a brief pause.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire