Each of us lives an insular life. It is that “private” side of us which remains so at our option.
How much of it is allowed into the public arena, and to whom we may share with, those are dependent upon multiple factors — of desiring to; of releasing information about ourselves that may allow for one to become “vulnerable”; of secretive lies; of shameful pasts; of thoughts that may be considered imprudent or childish; of foolish past exploits that may embarrass; of actions committed that were long forgotten by everyone but the self; and many more besides.
Then, of course, there is the “Outside appearance” — the person who is a compendium and pieced-together puzzle. That “person” is comprised of many facets: By those who “know” you at the office, but perhaps in a restricted, limited way; by neighbors and acquaintances; by closer family members; by people who may have only come in contact by telephone or the internet, etc.
How much of the Inside life and the Outside appearance overlap may be best illustrated by a Venn diagram — or by a multitude of concentric circles, depending upon who is asked about a particular person. Some scrupulously guard the inside life; others, like an open book left unguarded and unmarked, allow for the two parallel streams to mix and mingle without thoughts of restricting access.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, the concept of the “Inside life” and the “Outside appearance” is important to consider when entertaining the idea of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.
For, while the Federal or Postal employee may be suffering from a medical condition, how much of that “Inside life” has impacted the “Outside appearance” — i.e., the medical condition’s impact upon one’s performance, conduct or attendance — will be questioned by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in determining the merits of the case.
It is, in a FERS Disability Retirement case, the “Outside appearance” that will be determinative, so that no matter the extent of pain or anguish experienced by the “Inside Life”, it is the “Outside appearance” which will be the facet of evaluative validity.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire