We all possess them; some, more than others; most, of a harmless variety where — so long as they are kept private and unannounced like an illegitimate child kept from the knowledge of one’s spouse, friends and family — no consequences ensue from the mere “having” of them. False notions can take many forms, and on the spectrum of held beliefs, so long as one never “acts” upon them or otherwise expresses them in polite society, they remain the eccentric uncle that visits periodically but for short stays, and always tries to remain unobtrusive.
Say a person believes that the earth is flat — yes, there are many such people, to the extent that there are contingents of “flat earth societies” cropping up everywhere — but moreover, not only that the earth is flat, but you also believe that martians live on the far side of the moon, that every book published in the world over is written by Shakespeare, and that there is truly a wizard of Oz that controls the mechanism of the universe. What harm is there in believing any of those?
Perhaps some are false notions; perhaps others are not. So long as they do not intersect with conversations in the public domain, or do not interfere in the daily activities of living one’s life, is there any harm to possessing, maintaining, retaining and ascribing to false notions?
Take it a step further, however, and insert the following hypothetical: At a “get together” with coworkers and other departmental or other office personnel, a conversation begins with a group of gathered men and women, and someone begins talking about a new book that has just been reviewed by the New York Times Book Review Section, and one of the individuals pipes in that it, too, was written by Shakespeare.
The first person says, “No, no, it was written by so-and-so”, but the second individual persists and insists, and an argument starts: “No, it was written by Shakespeare.” “You’re crazy.” “No, you don’t know a thing!” “And you probably believe that the earth is flat.” And on and on. Now, the next day, everyone is back at work — has anything changed?
Holding on to the false notions has not disrupted the flow of productivity, and the fact that one’s false notions were inserted unnecessarily into the daily discourse of other’s beliefs and understanding of an individual, has not disrupted the objective universe of those who gained further knowledge of another’s belief system. False notions, then, so long as they remain private, or even when inserted into the public domain but without objective interference, may remain unobtrusive.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, however, who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition is beginning to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, a false notion can indeed have some deleterious consequences.
If you, as a Federal or Postal employee, possess a false notion of pride, or of loyalty to the Agency or the Postal Service at the expense of your health, and thus delay preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether as a FERS, CSRS or CSRS-Offset employee, the impact of further delay or procrastination can impact your health.
False notions are fine to foolhardily have fun with, but when it intersects with your health, it is time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with OPM.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire
OPM Disability Retirement Attorney