When ascribed to a task or a project, it all depends upon how it is characterized. When identified or closely associated with an individual, we tend to be harsher judges — especially when it involves our own participation. Perhaps there is a simple, even “objective” definition which encapsulates the concept of failure: Of merely not achieving that which was expected.
If we work with that definition, then the focal point would be upon our own expectations, and perhaps we simply needed to adjust them to a more realistic perspective. Then again, such an approach would merely be a circular tautology, and there would never be any failures — i.e., every time a failure occurred, we could just say, “Oh, we expected that”, and every time our expectations were not met, we would say, “Oh, we changed our expectations, so it is no longer a failure”. But clearly, that does not reflect reality, and there are truly times when failure does occur.
In the end, what is important is to recognize that our expectations — both of ourselves and of outcomes in reality — cannot always be met, precisely because there are other intervening factors that may account for the prevention of meeting them.
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, it is important to recognize that the intervening factor of the medical condition itself is what prevents you from meeting that expectation of reaching full retirement, and that is why Federal Disability Retirement benefits are there to assert.
It is not a “failure” to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits; rather, our expectations concerning our own health intervened in the meantime, and we have to adjust to accommodate — not a failure, but of human frailty.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire