Upon first encounter, the two appear not to have any correspondence or connection, leaving aside any explanatory significance to the issues of Federal Disability Retirement benefits for Federal employees or U.S. Postal workers. Yet, it is always of interest to show how the “relatedness” of seemingly disparate concerns intermingle and intersect with each other. The fact is, whether in a direct and non-subtle manner, or in some transcendent metaphorical context, Federal and Postal employees, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset who find themselves at a point in their careers where filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits becomes a necessity, constitutes a reflective representation of much of life’s challenges.
Loss of hope for the future; struggling with day-to-day work and family issues; contending with a medical condition; caring for one’s career and workforce, yet, being forced to make a decision contrary to the linear perspective of what is “supposed” to happen – of work, career, retirement and mandatory shuttling into a nursing home, then a tombstone with some etching of memorialized compassion. The latter two (nursing home and tombstone) are stated in somewhat of a cynical humor, but the others comprise the core of real life in real time.
Of the frog, we know that experimentation reveals the effectiveness of methodical, incremental insidiousness where, placed in a pot of tepid water, it will sit unknowingly until the boiling point is reached, and it becomes too late to jump out. Life has a tendency to do that to us – we wait and wait, and suddenly it becomes an emergency.
Fortunately for Federal and Postal employees who need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, it is rare that the emergency situation is so dire as to undermine the capacity and ability to file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, but nevertheless, one should always be wary of the metaphorical significance of the frog. It is one of those “life-lessons” which should be considered. Of the twig, it is perhaps a little less obvious as both metaphor and analogy.
Once a part of a greater organic whole, it splintered off and fell into the rushing waters of the river below, and drifts aimlessly down, coursing around jutting rocks and undisturbed banks of clay. Slowly, incrementally, and just as insidiously as the frog in the pot of water, the underside of the decaying twig begins to soak in the waters which allow it to remain afloat, until sometime later, the absorbing principle reaches a point where weight of intake exceeds the capacity to remain buoyant.
That is where the connection appears, between twig and life; where unforeseen burdens weigh down the individual until one day, unknowingly, like the frog and the boiling point of unobserved conditions, nature suddenly overtakes and dominates. And so, from the time when the twig separated from the greater overhang of a vibrant life, the vicissitudes of a raging stream which carried forth the rudderless twig, pushing it to and fro and about without direction, sinks to the bottom of a silt-filled bed, until it, too, decays and becomes again part of a greater circularity of life’s regeneration.
It is with these two in mind that the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker needs to approach a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset: both the frog and the twig represent a potential condition which we believe we are too smart for, but of which we find ourselves too often quite closely related to.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire