We all have a threshold of tolerance; it is, in the end, a spectrum and a range which cannot be generalized. The MRI that reveals degenerated tissue or organic dysfunctioning may parallel the pain experienced, but it does not determine the level of tolerance for any given individual. Yet, while thresholds may vary, there is a limit to human toleration, and the question for each individual is: At what point do conditions reach the limit of my tolerance, and do I wait until I reach that ceiling, or is it then too late to have waited so long?
Most people wait until the intolerable conditions reach a critical juncture. That is the rub of the matter — that, yes, human beings possess a great tolerance for the intolerable, but the further question that is too often missed, is: Should we? Is it healthy to? And: What damage is incurred by resisting the warning signs that our bodies and minds give such that we reach beyond those warning triggers and milestones of caution, and when we get beyond them, we leave them behind as sirens which have faded and been forgotten?
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers 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 Federal or Postal job, the intolerable conditions which have erupted often includes: Increasing harassment from one’s Federal Agency and the Postal Service; exhaustion of SL, AL and FMLA; dealing with the medical condition itself; the failure of coworkers and managers to empathize or understand; the stress that is placed on personal relationships because of the deteriorating conditions in the workplace; the loss of stability; the increasing loss of livelihood, etc.
Any one of these, or all in combination, create those intolerable conditions, and when it becomes apparent that the proverbial rubber band that has held the whole together is about to snap, then it is time — beyond the time, maybe — to prepare an effective FERS Disability Retirement application, to be filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire