Questioning one’s character occurs in multiple guises, by subtle and overt means, through self-reflection and conspiracies of consorts; one can question through self-reflection, when an intended result falls short of expectations; one can do it to others, when that which was promised was unfulfilled; or, we can do it out of sheer meanness, when rumors and unverifiable gossip can eat away at the fabric of one’s unprotected persona and self-image.
The offense of questioning one’s character is grave, indeed, and the responsiveness of reactionary rectitude is often tied to the sensitivity of one’s self-image, the reputation one holds within a given community, and the sense that one must maintain and control the opinions of others. Indeed, in this world of Facebook and rampant, unconstrained and un-restrainable opinions thrown about throughout the ethereal universe of the Internet, the questioning of one’s character is something which must be responded to with a callous disregard.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must contend with a hostile work environment when a medical condition begins to impact one’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, the issue of character questioning falls to the forefront without notice, without warning, and without a capacity to quickly respond. Suddenly, those years and decades of dedicated service are open to questioning; what one did in the past counts for naught; what one is currently doing is discounted because it falls short of coworkers’ expectations because of the enormous contributions of the past, which now account for little; and what is anticipated for the future is set aside, as one becomes a nobody in a universe which only takes into account the present actions and current accolades.
The fact that a medical condition is the culprit of one’s diminished professional capacity means little; and as the agency rarely reveals any underlying capability for empathy, the choices become limited: filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the best and most viable option. Federal Disability Retirement is a means to an end: the means requires that the Federal or Postal employee attains a level of security such that the medical condition itself can be the primary focus; the end is for the Federal or Postal employee to remain productive for the future, and to utilize the talents and as-yet-unrealized contributions to society for the many years to come.
Character questioning is a game of sorts, and one which empty souls and superficial artifices of valueless individuals engage in; the question itself should never involve a self-reflection of doubt based upon the invalid criticism of others, but the forthright confidence of the Federal or Postal employee who still has many years of valuable contributions left, in a society which screams for character.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire