I officially hate my job. 2 years ago the company merged and we all got regraded. I was offered a band 4 position, only a few points off a band 5. The boss (since retired) asked how I felt - I said it seemed ok, considering appealing because I was so close. He told me not to bother, didn't think I'd get it. I accepted band 4. It became obvious I was on the wrong band. Band 4s are the juniors without the relevent qualifications, experience etc. Job ads aimed at school leavers with NO relevent qualifications or experience are band 4. Those with quals/exp are band 5 and above. Some colleagues with less quals/exp than I have were graded above me. Too late to appeal, I decided to just go through the upgrade process. I got all the help and advice - found out how I scored before, what was wrong with my form and how to write it in the best way possible. Plus in the last 2 years I have added more experience, skills, responsibility etc. I should have been a band 5 anyway, but with new stuff too it should be no problem. I spent months getting my forms perfect. Submitted them. The forms have changed, do these new ones. I re-wrote them. This is different. I made the changes. Sorry, new form again. By the 4th attempt the forms were accepted and went to the panel to be scored. They didn't. From what they've said they didn't even read the form - glossed over one bit and not bothered with the bit that mattered. Said it wasn't good enough for band 5, it needed "bigging up". They gave me some "advice" on what to do.... Half the stuff they advised I've already done, eg telling me to put "extensive" or "specialist" etc. That's how I wrote the entire form! Every sentence was specifically worded according to their guide book. I've already used all their catchphrases - if they'd read it they'd know that. The other stuff they're telling me to inc is stuff nobody else needed for band 5. Some of it people on bands 6+7 don't have. I already have more qualifications, experience and responsibilities than many of the other 5's, so why the hell is it still not good enough? I was told this via HR. Obviously I was angry and upset. I explained to the HR woman - that their advice is meaningless, that I'm being treated differently etc. I must have said "I know this isn't your fault" a hundred times - it wasn't her doing this, it was the nameless, faceless people known only as "the company". I pointed out I'm being asked to lie on my form; that even if this gets me to band 5 I won't ever be able to get further; and that if this sets a precedent even more people will be held back. Still I agreed to jump through their hoops yet again, thanked her for her help, and went on my way. Last night I was so angry I lost control. Binged on chocolate, forgot dinner, downed a bottle of wine in under an hour, puked and passed out. I'm being treated like crap and I'm ready to seek legal advice on grounds of bullying or discrimination. They've employed people the same level or lower than me on a band 5. People who came in the same band as me, but with less qualifications / experience have been promoted above me. And when I try to move up I get fobbed off, lied to etc every step of the way. I've been in this job 7 years, came into it from a relevent background. I am one of the most highly qualified people in the department. My skill set is extensive, specialised, etc. I have plenty of responsibilities. Yet they are telling me I'm still a junior. Today I went to see HR woman to ask who I can speak to. I explained that I needed a more direct contact because she obviously couldn't help me (we had already discussed the fact that she too has been kept "out of the loop" and is unable to answer my questions) and that I didn't want her to feel like I was shooting the messenger. She then tells me that after our meeting yesterday she made a complaint to my boss about my behaviour so I can expect to be called in for a bollocking. For what? I wasn't violent, didn't accuse or blame her. I raised my voice and swore at times while I was complaining about the people on the panel, and "the company". Not her - I emphasised that repeatedly. 7 years and I'm just a junior. Years of doing work I'm not recognised, paid or appreciated for. Years of blood, sweat and tears, of unpaid overtime, of getting qualifications and taking on responsibilities. To be unfairly held back. To be lied to, fobbed off, not given a single straight answer. And now I'm not even allowed to be upset by this!!?? If the job market wasn't so crap right now I would have told them where to shove their stinking job already.