A few introductory concepts about the organization I work for: First, it is a huge, old, very rigid and quite hierarchical organization, so, any expectation of me effecting any change in it is totally out of the question. Second, despite any shortcomings of this organization, to work for it, once the (extremely) difficult admittance process is over, is 100% worthwhile. This is so due to external and internal circumstances, except for the most marginal of cases. This is to say that to look for another job is, again, out of the question.
That said, the organization has an internal and informal labour market in which poaching employees from other areas is quite common. Department bosses can stop people from changing positions, but they rarely do so as it is perceived that if the employee and the new boss want the change, it is because it will be a better fit (and, in the end, we all work for the same organization).
My case in particular: I received a nice offer from another department and, due to personal reasons (mainly the physical location of the new offices), I accepted it. My boss took it very badly, as I am an expert on a particular field and quite difficult to replace, but stopped short of blocking my transfer (maybe due to custom, maybe somebody higher up intervened, I don’t really know). I was very frank about the reasons, I told my boss several months in advance and went to quite some lengths to wrap up my work there before departing. I am not inexperienced, so I did the “basic” things to keep the bridges standing. Still, the bridges are burnt and we are on a non talking basis. Right now we don't work close at all, so it is not an immediate problem.
My questions: as my former boss is, and will be part of the same organization, and it is very conceivable that we cross paths again, could I have done anything different to keep the (working/colleagues) relationship better? What could I do now to repair it? I would be more comfortable, that’s for sure.
I don’t know, maybe it is not worth it, thank you for any advice.