Obstructive behaviour of a colleague has several different aspects: (1) The obstructive behaviour is directed at everyone. (2) The obstructive behaviour is directed at those of different skin color, i.e., racist attitude and behaviour towards colleagues of certain ethnicities, nationalities or religion. (3) The obstructive behaviour is directed towards one person in particular, say you alone.
(1) Obstructive behaviour directed at everyone betrays personal grudges, a person’s bad relationship with the perpetrator’s family members, especially his wife or her husband, his or her mother or mother-in-law, etc. That person is constantly in a fighting mode and obstructive behaviour is both a defensive and self-preservation tactic. The person needs a divorce or a stay in a loony ward and be subjected to marriage counselling and anger management counselling.
(2) Obstructive behaviour directed at those of different skin color, religion, ethnicity, nationality, is racism. The perpetrator is a racist. The case of a Chinese scientist at Alamo Labs who was accused and aquitted was initiated by a white colleague who was racist and jealous and who harbored racist hatred. A white man who killed a Chinese student with a baseball bat on the street after a traffic accident in Chicago was aquitted of murder. After the case was closed, the white man spewed racist remarks. Racism can be proven in court and a case would be dismissed outright if the attorney or public prosecutor proves racism. As a court interpreter, I had personally witnessed two such cases in which the charges were dismissed because the laywers were able to prove racism on the part of the plaintiffs. A white man who had an office space near a Turkish businessman called the police saying that he, the white man, feared for his life because the Turkish businessman likes to leave his office door open. Before that, this white man went to the accountant next door and told the accountant to join him in “getting rid of those of different skin color and throw them out of the office building.” Several Chinese engineers submitted a plan for a project. The plan was rejected by their white colleagues and they lost their jobs. They ended up opening a little restaurant in a shopping mall. A senior Chinese engineer at NASA had made several inventions but was never recognized because he was a Chinese, a Caucasian friend of mine once told me.
(3) Obstructive behaviour is directed at you. This is out of jealousy, perhaps your promotion and his or her demotion. Jealous obstructive behaviour directed at you can be triggered by something seemingly insignificant to you but a very serious offense to the jealous person. At one company I worked for for a year, some guy made a comment to which I responded to with a rather disinterested answer. At that time, there were rumors that I might get a promotion. Starting the following day, my home phone was tapped, and one supervisor asked me if I had ever said something derogatory about that person. The answer was no but the guy got promoted. At the Government Information Office in Taipei where I began working at age 18, I taught a colleague English. When a promotion was considered, he began spreading rumors that I was a phillanderer. This was because pretty women would talk with me but not with him. He got the promotion and I went to work for the Taipei Central News Agency. Some 35 years later, a proposal to write a book was rejected by the former head of the Government Information Office and later Minister of Foreign Affairs and Taiwan’s representative to the United States. His name is Chien Fu. He held a dislike of me for more than 35 years!
In dynastic China, the perpetrators of obstructive behaviour usually get their way and the person who was the “victim” usually got banished or executed.
As can be seen from the stories above, early retirement, becoming one’s own boss, seem to be the way out if such obstructive behaviour is directed towards you personally.