I work for a nonprofit agency and often take on ambitious projects. I get excited about projects that have the potential to make a difference in our world, and I enjoy creativity.

We are expected to work as a team and involve people outside our agency on collaborative efforts. Over and over, I work very hard and am very kind to everyone on my team. I am responsible, ethical and think I provide quality work.

On several occasions, I have led a major project almost to fruition -- only to have a team member take everything over at the very end and shut me out. I used to think that people just didn't think I was doing a good job or that they just didn't like me. I'd futilely try to figure out what I'd done wrong for about a month, and eventually feel ostracized and resign the project to let the group continue without me.

In my current situation, I wrote a successful $40,000 grant and was working toward a larger grant, when a team member changed something significant about the grant without my knowledge, shut me out and has gone on to work with part of the former team without me. The changes to the grant which I've been privy to are worrisome, and I fear the whole thing may be in jeopardy... along with my reputation as a grant writer and team worker.

In each case, my supervisors (different ones) have told me to just 'let it go'. (The supervisors never have control over the rogue person in each case because the person was a team member outside the agency or outside our work area). Additionally, in several of the cases, the project was discontinued within a month of me resigning as leader.

So here I am again, confused and unsure who likes me and who doesn't like me... doubting my abilities. I know a good team leader doesn't seek recognition and should just get personal satisfaction by what is achieved. But this just doesn't feel right. I frankly worry about putting all my accomplishments on my resume when there's no proof anywhere that I actually led the effort, wrote the grant, designed the project... you get the picture.

Each time this happens, I've had at least one co-worker (different ones each time) watch the whole thing in amazement, assuring me they could not understand why this was happening.

I'm feeling demoralised. But my confidence has swooped so low that I don't feel I can do any job well. The common denominator is me, so I must be doing something wrong. I suspicious are either:

  1. I'm not assertive enough
  2. People truly don't like me
  3. My perceptions about what people think of me are incorrect because I am too sensitive
  4. I'm simply being taken advantage of
  5. People are jealous of my accomplishments
  6. People think I am taking on these projects purely for recognition
  7. I am not doing a good job, so people take over and are afraid to tell me why.

Any input would be appreciated.

closed as off-topic by keshlam, Joel Etherton, gnat, Dawny33, AndreiROM Dec 2 '15 at 2:30

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  • 1
    But the commonality may be that you are the only grant writer (or the best). Projects in general may be poached - not just yours. Are there other grant writers that don't have projects poached. – paparazzo Dec 1 '15 at 17:54
  • Maybe. There aren't many decent writers, period, on the teams I've worked with. This has happened with more than grant writing, though....it has happened with launching a social media campaign, founding and growing a coalition, etc. (It happens with team members I am given, not people I select, coincidentally.) I suppose I do feel like I am being poached but I don't know what to believe anymore. It is very easy to be accused of not being a team player by insinuating such things. Does this happen to others? Probably so, yes. However, I do feel I am ostracized more than others. – Summer9 Dec 1 '15 at 18:08
  • You desperately need to read books on office politics. Nonprofits have those too. You are being taken advantage of and you need to learn in depth what to do not just a couple of paragraphs on an internet question. You can play office politics ethically, but when you don't play you get tromped on as you have found out. – HLGEM Dec 1 '15 at 18:38
  • What is the problem? You need recognition for your efforts? Or you want to be in until the end? I do some non profit stuff, I don't let anything excite me, because it is quite normal for things to turn political or get taken over. There are just too many people with their fingers in the pot and their own agendas. – Kilisi Dec 1 '15 at 21:23

I think you need to ask whoever passes for management in your organization to get useful answers to your question.

Note: In some organizations grant writing is a speciality and it is expected that you will hand off the project so you can start looking for the next one. This may not be malicious and may in fact be praise for your mastery of a valuable skill. People may simply not realize that you'd like to follow one all the way through, or they may think they need you more where you are.

Talk to them. It's a lot more effective than trying to guess. And all we can do is offer more guesses.


You've had the input you've needed already. Let it go.

Pretend for a second:

You're a builder of homes. You lead your team to build a beautiful house-on-a-hill somewhere, with the best amenities that money can offer. The details about the customer are foggy, but you're taking home a paycheck. Finally, it's done.

Six months later, you see that same house get smashed to pieces while watching the latest Matt Damon spy thriller in the neighborhood theater. Should you be ticked off?

There's NOTHING you could do about it. Let it go. Why stress over it?

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