We all know (or, by a certain age or stature of wisdom, should know) about the psychology behind the scam: Of gaining one’s confidence by first including one into a select group of people who are “in the know”.
There are two primary senses to the word, aren’t there? The first being a sense or feeling of self-assurance, as in, “He is very confident in his own abilities.” The second, and somewhat connected, is the definition pertaining to a relationship of trust and reliance, where there exists or builds upon a sense of camaraderie and intimacy, as in: “He brought me into his confidence.” In both cases, there develops a relationship of bonded certainty, whether in one’s self or in the connection between two or more individuals.
Thus, the “confidence” games encompass those activities or endeavors that build upon a relationship based upon trust, and engender the hapless victim to possess a sense of self-assurance that what he or she is giving up is of sacrificial value because the trust relied upon has been built on a foundation of friendship, relationships entrusted, and a shared affinity of intimacy exclusive of others.
Thus does the classic confidence game begin in a parking lot where a a cache of money is found and you are roped into becoming a select group within a conspiracy of two, or maybe three, and you are asked to put up a “deposit” of trust — then, when it is all over, you open the bag of money that you were left holding, only to find that it was merely a bundle of newspaper clippings. Or, of more complex pyramid schemes, ranging from the simple to the incomprehensible, ending up sometimes like Bernie Madoff’s decades-long game of roping in even the most sophisticated of unweary investors.
But then, aren’t we all conditioned from a very early age to believe that “confidence” games are acceptable, and that we get on through life’s difficulties by acting a part? Don’t we teach kids to “act self-confident”, be self-assured and walk with your head held high and play the “as if” game — as if you know what you are doing; as if you are the best qualified; as if you can have it all?
That is often the veneer we put on, and how thin the veil of confidence can be, only to be shattered like the delicate china that give off the clink-clink of refinement until the first fissure begins to show, then shatters upon the hardness of the world.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job — it may be that your self-confidence is beginning to wear off. As the Federal Agency or the Postal Service steps up its campaign of harassment and intimidation, the Federal or Postal worker has to deal with a double-problem: The profound fatigue from the medical condition itself (which impacts one’s sense of self-assurance) and concurrently, the loss of self-confidence as one realizes that one’s physical or cognitive capacity to continue in the chosen career is beginning to wane.
We all play the “confidence game” — that of going through life winging it and hoping that no one else notices; but at times, when the “real game” of life suddenly imposes its presence upon us, it is time to become “real”.
For the Federal employee or Postal worker who must face a real-life crisis of confidence because of a medical condition, it may be time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, so that the focus of one’s efforts can be redirected upon the greater importance of one’s health and well-being, as opposed to being drawn into the parking lot schemes of further confidence games.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire