Welcome to the Wakefield Doctrine ( the theory of clarks, scotts and rogers )
This is a photo of my friend Bernadine Thomas and me (your Humble Narrator), taken about 10 years ago. Bernadine died unexpectedly a couple of years ago.
(As often happens with clarks and scotts) it was nearly love at first sight with Bernadine*. Simply was one of those clark/scott things. I met Bernadine when she came to work at a market and credit research company – I was experimenting with having a ‘real job’ in the ‘real world’. The company I worked for had their offices in Providence, on Westminster Street, and most important (to my story here) was that I worked in one of those cubicle workstation things, at my desk from 9-5, Monday through Friday, calling manufacturing companies all over the world, trying to get them to give me information about their use of raw materials. In other words, it was a very rogerian work environment, but one in which a clark could ‘pass’ as an employee. I had been working there for about 6 months when Bernadine was hired and moved into a nearby cubicle.
To set the stage for my meeting Bernadine, picture an entire floor of an office building with the front of the floor (at the windows) being divided into three offices for the owners of the Company and the rest of the space taken up with clusters of cubicles. These were ‘open clusters’ which meant you could spin your chair to the 2 other people in your cluster or, with a little extra push, be out in the aisle where you could see what was going on in the rest of the office. On one wall, located in the middle of the office was the elevator and directly across was the main conference room, which had glass walls on three sides (windows on the 4th wall) and a large conference table in the middle. Totally visible from all the cubicles…think of TV with the Mute on.
I will never forget the day that Bernadine came to interview for a job, as the interview was held in the conference room. (It will help to know that the demographic of the Company was typical for the industry (and) for our part of the country, i.e. mostly female and nearly all white…not counting the Asian guy in IT). Bernadine, as characteristic of all scotts, not only had ‘presence’, but being a large woman, the minute she walked into the conference room, it was obvious to all of us that she was totally owning that room. Keep in mind, no one could hear the conversation that was going on in the conference room, except that is, when Bernadine laughed. As with scotts ( male and female), when Bernadine laughed you noticed! (…her’s was not one of those annoying, odd or quirky laughs), when she laughed it was full, un-restrained… totally without reservation or pre-requisite…simply enjoying herself.
Bernadine was hired.
As we got to know each other, I began to tell Bernadine about the theory of clarks, scotts and rogers. Bernadine made a lasting contribution to the Wakefield Doctrine. One afternoon, I asked her about the ‘dominance thing’. I told her about how scotts will always challenge everyone in the immediate environment, in order to establish the ranking order. But then I asked Bernadine a direct question, ‘What happens when you are not the dominant one?” Bernadine’s response was simple, ‘Nothing happens! It’s not a bad thing to be second in ranking! And…and…are you listening to me? It isn’t ‘better’ to be the alpha! All that matters is that we know where we stand ‘ This was a revelation that not only added to my understanding of scotts but reinforced my understanding of the fact that we all live in slightly different realities. As a clark, the concept of not being at the top could be nothing but a negative thing, it simply never could occur to me.
(Two experiences that tell you a lot about Bernadine and all about scotts…)
Bernadine’s cubicle was in the cluster (of cubicles) adjacent to the one that I worked in with another market analyst, by the name of Charlie; a young kid, just out of college, smart, and competent but Charlie had a habit of sleeping at his desk in the afternoon. One afternoon Charlie awoke from his after-lunch nap, loudly grumbling about how much work he had to do and for reasons still unknown, I said in a fairly loud voice, “…It’s been a long winter, and Mr Charlie is starting to wake, while things have changed since the Autumn, one thing is still true..he is hungry…and surely will need to get out of the burrow” (I was, of course, hearing the classic Disney Nature Film Narrator voice in my head).
The immediate and unmistakeable peals of laughter coming over the cubicle wall on Bernadine’s side were worth it all. It was at this moment we became friends.
The second experience came at the end of my employment at that company.
I was called into the office of my (rogerian) boss late one Friday afternoon. He did all the talking and it was mostly about him and his difficult responsibilities and how I surely must understand how it was that he had to let me go. And, being a roger of major proportions he assumed that I would be embarrassed to inform my co-workers of my imminent departure. He asked me if I wanted him to make up a reason that would explain my not working there anymore or did I want to make up a reason…
I said, ‘No thank you, I will take care of it, first thing Monday morning’. He seemed satisfied with this plan and I left the office and went home (by this time it was past ‘quitting time’).
When I got home, the totality of what had happened finally began to sink in, ( I have mentioned that I am a clark, haven’t I?), and I decided that I needed to call Bernadine. (This was noteworthy, as while we were workfriends, we did not socialize outside of the office. I had never before called her at her home.)
But call I did.
After the surprise of, “Hi Bernadine, this is Clark…from work, you know? wore off, Bernadine asked, ‘What’s wrong?” My response was simply, “They fuckin let me go today”
Bernadine’s next words were, “Alright. Tell me exactly what happened. And, don’t leave anything out!”
I still miss Bernadine, she was such a scott.
1) love being defined (by a clark) as ” this person not only is not suspicious of me and/or my behavior…they seem to actually enjoy my company!”