Dissimilarity is what threatens us; similarity — the notion that there are shared, common characteristics between you and I — provides for an acceptable level of comfort and security.
When we learn about the lives of the “rich and famous”, other than feeling some sense of envy, we can still imagine enough similarity of living such that we can “relate” to them. We might say, “Yeah, but he still has to put on his pants one leg at a time” or some such similarity of response. It is the dissimilar which tends to threaten — of behavior, looks or origins so alien that we fear that the strangeness of the unknown will somehow harm our very existence.
Modernity has tried to ameliorate that with a sense of living in a “global village”, where images of other cultures, other lives and different countries are transmitted into our living rooms via cable and other outlets; and social media allows for interaction with others no matter where a person resides. Rumors of wars are no longer apt; we bring it live right into our recreational living spaces, and no longer are cultures alien, nor other lives strange; the strangeness now is of the person who cannot relate to the universal similarity of all lives lived in modernity.
Yet, there are still instances of dissimilarity which threatens — such as a medical condition suffered by a Federal or Postal worker who then begins to feel isolated and treated as a pariah. Perhaps the response by others is likened to that “tribal” sense that people have: No one wants to be like the outsider, and so we shun them like those colonies of eons ago to which lepers were banished.
For Federal and Postal employees who believe that a medical condition now prevents him or her from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, and who are beginning to be treated in a dissimilar fashion, it may be time to file for FERS Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Consult with a FERS Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and do it before the dissimilar turns into a familiar case of similarity — that of fear turning into cruelty by the Federal Agency initiating adverse actions and ultimate termination.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire