It is the negation of that very concept which we fear; not of loyalty, but of disloyalty. The positive of it is what we are taught to abide by; of “honesty”, “integrity”, “faithfulness”, “reliability”, and so many other such reputation-bearing ascriptions that one may carry about within the essence of one’s being, like so many medals pinned upon the flesh and blood that constitutes the entirety of a human being, his or her life, the soul of who one is, and how others view and perceive an individual.
How many of us, however, before we cling to and so desperately fight in order to resist the loss of any one of those concepts, have carefully understood, studied and evaluated the value of each? And thus the question: What is the price of loyalty? When is the debt satisfied, and to what extent must we travel in order to establish the worth of it, and when does it become too costly such that we decide we can no longer afford the price?
Of course, the mixing of metaphors and analogies can confuse and befuddle, and that is often the problem with interspersing common, everyday-used “practical” realities with those that involve emotional attachments, historical assignations and prescriptions for “good living” or “successful lives”. To conflate concepts involving the “practical” world with the inner sanctum of culturally relative ideas – of “price” (as in, what is the price of a bushel of apples?) and of “loyalty” (i.e., knights in shining armor, band of brothers, filial attachments, etc.) can often lead to a confused state of inactivity, precisely because one cannot distinguish the applicability of one with the other.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the question involving the price of loyalty – and its negation – comes at the critical juncture where the suffering from the medical condition exceeds the ability and capacity to continue working in the Federal or Postal job one is positioned in.
Many Federal and Postal employees continue to cling to a false sense of loyalty – that the commitment to one’s career, at any and all costs, is simply the price that one must pay. But the price to be paid should depend upon the indebtedness owed, and in considering one’s health, such a price should never have to exceed the cost of one’s own health.
Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is merely the satisfaction of the debt owed – not by you, but by the terms of one’s employment contract with the Federal agency or the Postal Service, and the price of loyalty, whether real, false or imagined, was long ago satisfied and paid in full the moment you met the minimum eligibility criteria of 18 months of Federal Service under FERS.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire