In the annals of history, most of us remain as the inconsequential. Not even a footnote, nor even a passing reference, we are lumped into generations of third-person subjects unnamed and faceless. We might read, for instance, that during the “Sixties” or “Seventies” (or beyond), this group of people or that community of individuals did X or participated in Y, and we might say to ourselves, “Oh, that is a reference to my generation”. Yet, as an individual, it is rare to be identified by name.
History always fails to recognize the inconsequential; except, perhaps, by memory of relatives and faded photographs barely remembered in gatherings where old folks once chattered about this or that person whose absence emphasizes the starkness of the inconsequential.
Is that what many of us fear? Not just about being ignored; and perhaps not even of leaving this world without a mark of recollection; but of being one of the inconsequential within a mass populace of unknown graves, unmarked but for those faded memories of vestiges in whispered conversations once echoing down the forgotten chambers of time.
And of that place where we toiled for a decade or more — where so much time was spent, so much effort and expenditure of labor: The workplace. Once we are gone, will we even be remembered? Will a fellow worker say, years hence, “Oh, remember that guy who…?”
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the fear of becoming one of the “inconsequential” is often what makes the Federal or Postal worker pause before considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.
But just remember this: There is life after work, and whatever “consequential” work you believe you contributed to the Federal Agency or the Postal Service, there is nothing that cannot be replaced, and the greater consequence of failing to attend to one’s health is what makes for the inconsequential to loom larger with greater consequences down the road.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire