Most of us stumble through it, and somehow end up down unexpected corridors of unplanned venues; and then we have the nerve to think that we can have kids and impart wisdom we never learned, refused to lived by, and rarely listened to. It is said that hypocrisy is the characteristic of the common farce; it just happens to infect everyone else, and never ourselves. But there is an evolutionary determinant even in the comedy of life; it used to be that Western Philosophy would teach us to always seek out the substance of a thing, and to recognize mere attributes and appearances for what they are — recognizing that superficiality conceals the essence of Being.
Now, there are popular books which tell us that “faking it” is okay, so long as everyone else is too stupid to know it. Then, there is our job, our careers and that vocation at which we spend the majority of our lives pursuing. One day, we wake up, and find that the manifestation of a medical condition makes it impossible for us to continue.
What do we do about it? Procrastinate. Deny. Avoid the issue. But reality has a way of ignoring our pleas of ignorance and avoidance. Harassment at work; Letters Warnings; imposition of a PIP; Proposed Removal; Removal. It is not that we did not see it coming; we just hoped that life’s lessons would make a detour around our individual circumstances.
Fortunately, however, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers, there is a consolation benefit in the event that a life lesson involving a medical condition impacts the Federal or Postal employee’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties as a Federal employee or U.S. Postal Service worker. Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits allows for the Federal or Postal employee to have “another chance” at life’s misgivings, by providing a base annuity, allowing for work in the private sector on top of the OPM Disability Retirement annuity, and to garner a time for restorative living in order to attend to the medical conditions by retaining and maintaining one’s FEHB.
In the end, there is a conceptual distinction to be made between “Life Lessons” and “Life’s Lessons”; the former is what our parents and the juggernaut of historical inevitability tried to teach, and which we deliberately ignored; the latter is that which impacts us daily and personally, and to which we must by necessity respond.
For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the Federal or Postal employee must file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the lesson of life — whether as Life Lessons or as Life’s Lessons, is to take that stumbling former self who ended up in the corridors of the Federal Sector, and to straighten out the future course of events by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire