One can know a friend for decades, but catch him or her at the wrong time, and be the recipient of a reaction which astounds and confounds. In everyday life, most of what we do is based upon a routine of habit. We may rearrange the deck of chairs by doing X chore before tackling issue Y, but for the most part, our lives are set within the confines of a comfortable routine. And that is probably a good thing; for, as order and continuity allows for a peace of mind, so a set routine provides a sense of comfort and security.
How we deal with disorderliness and chaos, however, often determines whether the comfort of a routine was ultimately healthy for us. Confronting a sudden emergency; having a medical condition which interrupts our formulated goals; asking for support from others when a need arises — those are the life “tests” which separate our friends from all others.
In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the sudden need to garner extraordinary support (and the term “extra-ordinary” is applicable precisely because it requires actions out of the ordinary course of people’s lives) from others — family members, agency personnel, doctors, etc. — will test one’s patience and confidence in one’s fellow man.
In trying to get the support of others, one must use one’s sense of discretion and propriety — of the right time and place — by sensing how to approach each.
The old metaphor of a “bull in a china shop” will often apply. For the Federal or Postal Worker, the “bull” is the Federal or Postal worker who needs the support; the china shop is represented by all others. The trick is to walk softly and carefully, and with great tact. In doing so, remember that you are disrupting the comfortable routine of others.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire