The title reference, of course, is to the old Spielberg film concerning contact with an alien being; but such a remote, rare and unique experience need not be with an entity from another galaxy or planet, but can be closer to home.
Most people will never need to experience engagement with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, OPM Division of Disability, Reconsiderations and Appeals, in order to apply for Federal Disability Retirement benefits (whether under FERS or CSRS), leaving aside having to file an appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.
But when the Federal or Postal employee finds him/herself in such a unique situation such that contact with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management or the MSPB becomes necessary, such an experience will be as peculiar and strange an an encounter of the “third kind”. Moreover, the experience itself may be an unwanted and unpleasant one, because it is something accomplished and pursued while experiencing a personal crisis involving a medical condition.
The encounter itself — however strange, unpleasant or unwanted — nevertheless is a reality which must be dealt with, and in so doing, it should be done in as efficient a manner as possible.
In an initial encounter with an alien being, one would assume that there might be some trepidation and reluctance, mixed with a great amount of suspicion. That would be natural. In a similar encounter with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is best to also have a healthy dose of skepticism; better yet, you might want to contact an expert who has had some past experience in dealing with the entity.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire