It is, and historically has been, an option of last resort. There are those, of course, where it is simply never an option; at whatever cost; sacrificing whatever means; it is simply not a consideration to be entertained. Is such a “principled” approach ingrained within the DNA of an individual, or is it merely a trifle of stubbornness which prevents a person from giving up?
It is certainly not a character trait which is taught; in fact, more of the opposite is true. We tend to teach our children the pablum of perseverance: “Keep at it, and one day you will…”; “Don’t give up; you’ve only just begun” (a paraphrased lesson for young children of what the American revolutionary, John Paul Jones, purportedly stated, “Surrender?…I have only just begun to fight!”); and other such lessons where the fine line between intelligent perseverance and fatalistic stubbornness must often collide.
Yet, there surely are times when it is prudent to give up — and perhaps come back to fight another day.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition no longer allows the Federal or Postal employee to perform all of the essential elements of his or her position, “giving up” may be a matter of filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Of course, “giving up” may also be the thought when the U.S. Office of Personnel Management denies a person’s FERS Disability Retirement application, as well — but in the opinion of this writer, that is the time when the approach of John Paul Jones should be taken.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire