I have been pondering this for some time, and after a discussion with some friends, I have come to the conclusion that everyone has at least one mortal enemy at work.
The person that you ignore as you pass in the corridor. The person who you begrudge their promotion. The person who you know to be incompetent, yet they get ahead at work. The person you simply cannot stand the sight of. The person who attempts to exclude you from social activities. The person who makes snide comments about you at lunch. The person who spreads gossip about you behind your back. You know the one I mean.
What are the motivations or benefits of such a feud? My workplace mortal enemy is someone I used to work with. We fell out because I asked them to give the same commitment as I did to our sysadmin tasks; they simply weren't prepared to do that. With hindsight, I realise that they weren't up to the task; I shouldn't have put so much pressure on them.
Yet we cannot reconcile. There is a whole Antarctica's worth of ice between us. The problem is compounded by the fact that this person has now got a degree and is aiming for a post in my department. Of course, it would be viewed as petty if I went up to the recruiting manager and told them that this person is incompetent and way below the standard required for an engineer in our department.
But this person has contacts. They know managers. They have been a good corporate bunny and participated in social occasions. They've sucked up to the right people while I was focussed on simply doing my job.
Maybe one day our feud will end. I know that I will probably not be the one to end it. This saddens me because I like to think that I'm more mature than this.