We learn from a friend that a certain person X visited the house of person Y. Y was a good friend. X never liked you. A week or so later, you bump into Y and you say, “Hi. Haven’t seen you in a while. How has the family been?” Y looks at you, turns the other way without responding, and coldly walks away.
You attribute the behavior of Y as being related to the fact that X, who doesn’t like you, had visited Y the week before. You connect the coincidence of Y’s behavior and the visitation of Y by X, and create a narrative around the encounter: “X must have bad-mouthed me when he went over to Y’s house. Y must have believed him, and that is why Y is behaving so coldly to me.” In other words, you attribute Y’s behavior as the effect caused by X’s coincidental meeting with Y the week before. Are you right in doing so?
Say, sometime later, you learn that it wasn’t X, after all, that had visited Y the week before, but it was T — another good friend of yours. Further, you learn that Y’s sister had recently passed away, and Y calls you up and apologizes for the past behavior, explaining that Y simply “didn’t want to talk to anyone that day, and had been walking around in a daze of sorrow.”
Coincidences and wrong attributions; we all make them. We go back and retrace our steps of logical reasoning to try and discover the flaw of our thought-processes. It happens often. What is the rule to follow to try and minimize such flawed approaches to logical reasoning? First, to get the facts. Next, to wait before coming to conclusions. Finally, to try and limit one’s creative imagination from bleeding beyond the borders of known facts.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, and where 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, it is important to first “get the facts” concerning Federal Disability Retirement, and not get mired in the fears of coincidences and make wrong attributions.
It may well be that certain actions initiated by the Agency are not mere coincidences; and it may be true that your “feelings” about the future can be directly attributable to what you have “heard” from others. But before coming to any conclusions or making any decisions, it is well-advised to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest those coincidences lead to wrong attributions, resulting in making the wrong moves based upon baseless causal connections.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire