The Self-Image of a Postal or Federal Employee after a Disabling Injury or Other Medical Condition

Thurber’s Walter Mitty is not an anomaly; each of us carries a fiction within our insular souls, of lives extended into a world of fantasy, trespassing between daydreams and thoughts of heroic deeds beyond the mundane routines of daily living.  Perhaps there are those in the world whose lives are so adventure-filled that such retinues of alternative parallelism within universes of imaginations becomes unnecessary; but that is a rarity, as human beings are partly unique because of the creative outreach beyond the present circumstances of life.

It is only when such creative imaginations directly encounter and contradict the reality of life; where one begins to imagine beyond the imagination, and talk and act “as if” the virtual reality constitutes the real reality, that problems can occur.   The fragile demarcation between sanity and insanity may be arbitrarily imposed by an unforgiving society, but it is a boundary wide enough to entrap the unwary.  Medical conditions have a tendency to stretch that line.  Whether because of the stresses encountered in this age of modernity and technological complexity; or perhaps the inability to adapt, where evolutionary tools have not been able to keep up with the pace of change; whatever the reasons, medical conditions force the facing of reality, the starkness of our mortality, and the need for change.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, the primary need is often the time of recuperation.  But the unforgiving nature of Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service will often refuse to grant that necessary time in order to reach a plateau of recovery.  Federal Disability Retirement benefits, filed through one’s agency (if you are still on the rolls of the agency, or have been separated but not more than 31 days has passed) and ultimately to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is a means to an end.

Often, one thinks of “disability retirement” as an end in and of itself; but because Federal Disability Retirement allows for, and implicitly encourages, the Federal and Postal worker to consider employment opportunities outside of the Federal Sector after securing Federal Medical Retirement benefits, it should instead by seen as an intermediate component of one’s life.

Making a living is a challenge enough; the loss of one’s self-image through the impact of a medical condition can be a devastating interruption to the challenge; but for the Federal and Postal employee who can secure a Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefit, the interruption can be seen as a mere interlude, for greater opportunities extending into the future, and thereby allow from the daydreams of Walter Mitty to be enjoyed as mere reflections of pleasure, instead of wishful swan songs of a closing chapter as the curtain descends upon the epilogue of one’s life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from the USPS and Other Government Agencies: Construction

Meaning and value are attached to building, and watching the construction of end-products resulting from an assembly-line of incremental, almost imperceptible progression of composite aggregations of artistry.  To build, and to witness the progress of effort expended, is to reveal advancement and accomplishment; and so the evidence of our cleverness is determined by the accumulation of that stuff which represents and constitutes a lifetime of endeavors.

We add children to our family, and watch them grow; we are satisfied when bank accounts enlarge; puppies become dogs; houses are built; office spaces are rearranged and furnished; the empty space is filled.  We witness the building of things, and it is the completion of that which we construct that provides for satisfaction and value upon the end product, before we go on to the next, and the next.

But what of human value?  Is the pinnacle death, or some intermediate vortex where the progression on a graph reaches an apex, then trends downward towards a demise?  Can we analogize the construction of an inert object and extrapolate an anthropomorphic value in comparison with a person’s life? Medical conditions and their interruptive characteristics have a tendency to suddenly bring questions encapsulating value, meaning and futility to the fore.  One can spend a lifetime building, only to watch the fruits of such labor become diminished, or destroyed, through the intervening unexpectedness of a medical condition.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits by the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is often viewed as a stop-gap measure which fends off the tides of change. Change is unfortunately an inevitability of life.   For the Federal and Postal worker who has spent a lifetime building for the Federal Sector, who suddenly finds that a medical condition prevents him or her from performing all of the essential elements of one’s job, and must therefore face (a) resignation, (b) termination, or (c) the alternative option — whatever that may be; it is the last of the three options which possesses the potential for future construction.

Federal OPM Disability Retirement is the option available for all Federal and Postal workers who meet the minimum time and age criteria, in the effort to stem the downward spiral of a dismantling effect upon a lifetime of value, meaning, and teleological progression of building and construction.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire