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. Built directly in the eyes of the schooner, it was of the shape of a triangle, along the three sides of which stood the bunks, in double-tier, twelve of them.
A pleasant odour of onions and hot ham, mingled with fried fish and greens, greeted him at the bottom of the ladder; and then the steward came up with an oily smile, and said:
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.
'Working as a team, everyone has a role to play, from those at the top to those at the bottom of the ladder,' the NITDA boss said.
He started his career at Ernst & Young, in the insurance and consulting department, where he started as an associate at the bottom of the ladder before moving up the ranks to the position of director of the insurance department.
It's a very hard industry to work in, especially when you start at the bottom of the ladder. My advice would be: Don't give up, take all the trainings you can get and educate yourself as much as you can.
UE's ever-smiling exploits would also make him a viable Mythical Five candidate, the MVP is out of the question since the Red Warriors' 1-12 record put them at the bottom of the ladder, but Pasaol said he'd rather see his teammates happy than receive any individual plaque.
At the bottom of the ladder was a wooden door that was open and led to the two rooms in solid concrete.
While it is never recommended to have more than one person on a ladder at a time, have a spotter or base 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.