It is a latin term; the full derivative is, “et cetera”, and is inserted at the end of a laundry list to mean, “And the rest”, “the list goes on”, “other likened things following”, etc. Linguistically, it is a convenience of sorts, for it allows us to abbreviate instead of going on and on exhaustively.
Applied to individuals, it is the place in a sentence, a paragraph — a narrative — where we hope not to be. Thus, in a conversation held by two women about men in general:
“So, what do you think about Bob?”
“Oh, you know the type.”
“Type? Can you elaborate?”
“You know — they are rather uninteresting, like John, Terry, William, etc.”
Now, if you were John, Terry, William — or even Bob — you were at least recognized. It is if you were relegated to the “etc.” that it becomes a problem. You are the unnamed, irrelevant entity banished with the grammatical device of an appendage at the far end of a sentence. You are not even a footnote. You don’t even make it into the end pages of a large non-fiction work in the “notes” section. You are a non-entity.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who feel the way an “etc.” does because you are no longer relevant to your Federal Agency or Postal Service as a result of a medical condition which no longer allows you to continue in your career, consider Federal Disability Retirement.
Contact a disability attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, where multiple issues of legal complexities may challenge you, such as the issues of accommodations, nexus between the medical condition and your job, reassignment — et cetera.
Robert R. McGill, Lawyer