One may, of course, counter that a choice which is “forced” is actually no choice at all, and such a rebuttal possesses some merit. However, the rebuttal to the rebuttal is to say that it all depends upon what one means by “forced” — as in, was one’s liberty to choose otherwise restricted, or is it used in a looser sense, as in, “I just felt that I didn’t have any other choice, so I did X”?
Thus, if a person walks into an ice cream shop and there is only one flavor of the creamy product, one may say dejectedly, “I didn’t have any other choice, so I bought a gallon of ice cream.” There was, of course, the silent other option — of not buying any at all — to which a person might respond, “Yes, if the original contingency was encapsulated by the thought that ‘I want some ice cream’, then based upon that paradigm, the narrow choice-making was limited to purchasing whatever ice cream that is available.”
Further, can one argue that the “sub-choice” was the amount of ice cream purchased — for, was there not a choice of a greater or lesser amount, as in a pint instead of a gallon, or 5 gallons instead of one?
Countering that issue, of course, is to go back to the “primary” paradigm of the choice — for, if the contingency was the issue of having-X or Not-X, then the secondary choice-making of the quantity or volume of the purchase is a collateral, inconsequential matter. Thus, what is important to glean from such a discussion is to recognize and identify what remains as the essential contingency of a choice-making process before one complains that a person was “forced” into a choice.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition no longer allows the Federal or Postal employee to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is important to begin the process of considering whether or not to prepare, formulate and file a Federal Employee Disability Retirement application.
What are my choices? Can I continue to work while I await the long process of a FERS Disability Retirement application? Must I resign from the Federal Agency or the Postal Service? Must I accept any and all reassignments offered, if offered at all?
These, and many other questions should be considered before one concludes that there were no options at all and that the only choice was a “forced” choice, which is no choice at all. For, in the end, even the person who had no choice but to buy a gallon of vanilla ice cream had other options — like traveling to the next block or another town to go to another ice cream store.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire