low man on the totem pole

low man on the totem pole

The person (not necessarily a man) with the least amount of experience, authority, and/or influence in a social or corporate hierarchy. It can be a little daunting going from being a senior in high school to low man on the totem pole again as a college freshman. I know I'll be low man on the totem pole with this internship, but it will at least give me a place to start in my career!
See also: low, man, on, pole, totem

low man on the totem pole

Fig. the least important or lowest-ranking person of a group. I was the last to find out because I'm low man on the totem pole. I can't be of any help. I'm low man on the totem pole.
See also: low, man, on, pole, totem

low man on the totem pole

Low in rank, least important person, as in I just joined the board so I'm low man on the totem pole. This slangy expression is thought to have been invented by the American comedian Fred Allen about 1940 and caught on despite its lack of application to a genuine totem pole.
See also: low, man, on, pole, totem

the low man on the totem pole

AMERICAN, INFORMAL
If you describe someone as the low man on the totem pole, you mean that they are the least important person in an organization or a group. He is a quality-control coach, the low man on the totem pole of the staff. Note: You can also just say that a person or their position is low on the totem pole. At other studios, those writers who were low on the totem pole were treated rudely. Note: If someone is important in a group or organization, you can say that they or their position is high on the totem pole. Kassam would only say that his job was `high on the totem pole' at the hospital where the disease was found. Note: A `totem pole' is a tall wooden pole with symbols on it, that is a traditional object for Native Americans.
See also: low, man, on, pole, totem
References in periodicals archive ?
Smith was essentially a gofer on that project, the low man on the totem pole, performing odds and ends and making himself available to the director of photography whenever he could.
He is just the low man on the totem pole who takes orders and pulls the trigger, and he's never been allowed any dignity or expression for his heart.
I used to joke when I was a low man on the totem pole that someday I would run this place,'' he said.