kick someone down the ladder
kick (someone or something) down the ladder
To force someone or something into a lower or more basic position or status, especially one with fewer opportunities for success, profit, advancement, etc. They may be at the top of the league now, but a few losses will kick them down the ladder just as fast as they got up there. My promotion to management lasted less than a month before they kicked me back down the ladder. Originally meant to be a full-fledged film with a theatrical release, it was eventually kicked down the ladder to a TV miniseries.