In Greek mythology, he is considered as a god of the oceans. Homer refers to him as the “Old Man of the Sea” and is known for change, adaptation and alteration. He can alter his shape and appearance, depending upon the circumstances surrounding. Changing of forms, of course, becomes the essence of Plato’s philosophy, and Aristotle’s later search for that substratum which allows for continuity and stability.
Perhaps the malleability of Proteus is in response to the tumultuous nature of the oceans; one day beset with the calm of quiet tides, and in the next instance, rising and falling with fury by the storms of unpredictability. To be able to change, adapt and become chameleon-like is to be able to withstand the vicissitudes of life’s misgivings.
That is what we have to do when a medical condition hits us, and impacts one’s career and circumstances — to be like Proteus and have the capacity to adapt and modify the pathways we have followed. Stability is always a necessary prerequisite for success. While wide spectrums of change may be called for in the early days of a “start-up” or initiation of a new project, at some point, a calming effect must come about in order for daily living to occur.
Similarly, while youth may allow for the exuberant embracing of daily excitement in change, middle age and beyond yearns for a greater serenity of redundancy. When a medical condition suddenly and unexpectedly reminds us of our vulnerability and mortality, it is to stability that we cling and not for the inconstancy of the ocean’s fury.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prompts one to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, it becomes necessity to act and think like Proteus — the “Old Man of the Sea” — and to consider a change of careers precisely because an incommensurability has arisen: No longer are the medical conditions compatible with the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, and that is the proof that one must provide to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in order to fight for, and win, a Federal Disability Retirement claim.
To find out more about the further particulars of winning the Protean battle against the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is best to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire