at the bottom of the ladder

at the bottom of the ladder

Occupying the lowest, most basic position in a given group. Quarks are at the bottom of the ladder in the physical makeup of matter. Tech startups may start at the bottom of the ladder economically, but, given their business model, they have a very high potential for growth.
See also: bottom, ladder, of

at the bottom of the ladder

 and on the bottom rung (of the ladder)
Fig. at the lowest level of pay and status. (Alludes to the lowness of the bottom rung of a ladder.) Most people start work at the bottom of the ladder. After Ann got fired, she had to start all over again on the bottom rung.
See also: bottom, ladder, of
References in classic literature ?
The apprentice begins at the bottom of the ladder and masters the several grades one after the other.
Pudd'nhead was still toiling in obscurity at the bottom of the ladder, under the blight of that unlucky remark which he had let fall twenty-three years before about the dog.
At the bottom of the ladder, a door opened, and shut after us immediately with a bang.
It was my first descent into the forecastle, and I shall not soon forget my impression of it, caught as I stood on my feet at the bottom of the ladder.
You have a hierarchy of values; pleasure is at the bottom of the ladder, and you speak with a little thrill of self-satisfaction, of duty, charity, and truthfulness.
When hanging your home holiday lights, have a spotter at the bottom of the ladder to hold your position and ensure you're level.
The last thing I saw was him falling under the sewage at the bottom of the ladder.
Now I wonder how us people at the bottom of the ladder can manage if they can't.
And those at the bottom of the ladder find their dream of buying pushed even further from their grasp.
Chennai Super Kings are at the top of the point table while Kings XI Punjab are languishing at the bottom of the ladder.
Muminova drew with Alina L'Ami of Romania, who is winless with one-and-a-half points at the bottom of the ladder.
Mark Merifield, Merlin Flex-Ability managing director, said: "We were looking for young, enthusiastic people with the right commitment and abilities who could start at the bottom of the ladder and forge a career with us.
Since college, I have been living at the bottom of the ladder (or below it, if you can imagine), and with what I have learned from Mother Earth News, I have been able to sustain myself and my better half for the past two years on almost nothing.
That led to the harsh sacking of former Giant Phil Veivers, who left the club at the bottom of the ladder despite recording a surprising victory over Hull KR with such an inexperienced line-up.