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 ?
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.
And those at the bottom of the ladder find their dream of buying pushed even further from their grasp.
At the bottom of the ladder in the index were Mizoram, Jammu and Kashmir, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.
Muminova drew with Alina L'Ami of Romania, who is winless with one-and-a-half points at the bottom of the ladder.
He told the court: "He is at the bottom of the ladder, merely the foot soldier.
I was greeted at the bottom of the ladder by one of the squadron AMEs.
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.
You have to start at the bottom of the ladder and go up the staircase till you reach the top.
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.
Point is, try putting your feet first at the bottom of the ladder, and work yourself up.
However, if the pilots were to join a rival carrier they could find themselves starting at the bottom of the ladder while the fact they would only be available for two years at most might work against them.
You start at the bottom of the ladder again and have to work yourself back up.