“Familiarity breeds contempt” — was the unspoken rule within the military class which built a wall between officers and enlisted, supervisors and subordinates, bosses and workers, etc. Why is that? Is it because, beneath the veneer of superiority, we all know that we’re no better than others, and once the imperfections cleverly concealed are unraveled for others to witness, the scoffing laughter and the smirking undertone will openly splatter with a defiance of disdain?
Familiarity, over time, likewise brings us to take things for granted — of the monotony of everyday rhythms, that what we experienced yesterday will similarly occur today; that the sun will rise tomorrow with perhaps a cloudy interlude that hides the radiance of a clear sky for a brief respite, but knowing that regularity will return with a force of continuity.
What does it mean to “take X for granted”? Whether of people, events, objects, pets or circumstances, it is how we approach things — whether with a freshness of purpose or an old rag of expectations. What did we do differently “before’ the problem of familiarity? Did we bring flowers every day to win the heart of a loved one — only to later expect that, well, since the heart has already been won, why waste the money upon such frivolities? Does familiarity lessen the fervency of love, or does “commitment” undermine the urgency of conquest?
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 problem with familiarity is that the basis of constancy breeds not contempt, but comfort. It is “comfortable” to stay where you are — despite the harassment, the adversity and the problems inherent in remaining; nevertheless, that which is “known” is preferable to the unknown.
Becoming a Federal Disability Annuitant may be a scary thought, but a necessary next step. Taking that first step is to break away from familiarity, and that is where the problem lies — of stepping into the abyss of the unknown. To smooth the pathway away from the road of familiarity, think of Robert Frost’s poem and consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law. It might make all the difference in your life.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire
OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer