There are those we sometimes meet in life where the infectiousness of enthusiasm cannot be avoided. Whether such active energy can be truly sustained, to what extent, and for how long; and, whether such enthusiasm is matched within the essence of the being behind the veil of smiles and outward appearances, only the heart and soul knows in the privacy of one’s chambers. Whether an artifice for show and appearances, or a true bundle of vitality, the reality of such people and their existence is besides the point; rather, the real issue to consider is the contrasting starkness which is revealed when encountering such people.
Most of us walk through life with limited energy, complaining of life’s inequities, and performing tasks with minimal effort. The automaton is merely a person once removed from the daily monotony of life. Then, when a medical condition hits the person, all of the fears and predictions of gloom merely become reinforced and proven beyond a doubt. Thereafter, the logical sequence of events often occurs, and the “piling on” follows, where family, acquaintances, supervisors and coworkers known or otherwise forgotten begin to avoid and shy away from further contact. The “disease of failure”, or that which lacks the look or scent of success, begins to pervade. People are funny beings; they treat the maladies of others as if it can be caught like a viral epidemic.
Medical conditions prevailing upon Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers can have a similar effect and impact: suddenly, the pandemic of avoidance and negative perspectives pervades all sides: the Federal or Postal employee is no longer treated with respect by Supervisors, co-workers and the agency (the cynic, of course, would question whether such respectful treatment ever occurred in the first place), and proposed administrative sanctions and actions follow not too far behind.
Federal Disability Retirement benefits, filed through one’s agency if the Federal or Postal worker is still with the agency (or has been separated from Federal Service or the U.S. Postal Service, but not for more than 31 days), and ultimately through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is a step in the direction of regaining and reasserting one’s enthusiasm of, and for, that which life offers. Staying in an environment where one is shunned and unwanted, will only exponentially magnify the stamping out and extinguishment of the afterglow of human endeavor.
Life is often short and stunningly cruel; and when a medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, consideration needs to be given to filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, if only to escape the hostile work environment which further exacerbates the medical conditions from which one suffers.
The enthusiasm of life is not merely a viral cavity gnawing at the annoying person we encounter here and there; it is the essence of who we are in our natural state of being, but shaken and turned out of us by the incremental and subtle weight of burdens gained over time and troubled waters.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire