It is an oxymoron of sorts: For, by the very definition of each of the two words, the opposite should necessarily be implied. Responsibilities, by their very nature, especially in the context of a village, a society, or a nation, are shared by all; and thus to declare the existence of an “unshared responsibility” — when responsibilities by their very nature require a shared nature — is a form of self-contradiction. Failure to share the responsibility that is ours to engage is common where society no longer knows its own neighbors.
That is the essence of a disappearing village — where we know longer know each other, remain detached and merely retain the outer facade of being a society with common interests. Do you know your next door neighbor? Do you even care to? Yet, we have thousands of “friends” on Facebook, but barely know, or care, about the person living just across the street.
The Office is no different. One day a coworker files for Federal Disability Retirement benefits and we are “surprised”. We didn’t know that the person even had a medical condition. The Supervisor didn’t know. The Human Resource Office didn’t care to know. No one at the agency cared to know. That is often the reality, unfortunately, and the greater — sadder — reality is that those who should have known didn’t care to take the time to know.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and where confidentiality of the process is critical because of the unshared responsibility of the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, consult with a Federal Disability Attorney who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law, lest the unshared responsibility of confidential matters may potential leak to the uninterested ear that awaits hungrily for the gossip of unspoken mouths.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire