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bottom of the ladder

Lowest or most junior position in a hierarchy. For example, If we hire you, you'll have to begin at the bottom of the ladder . The rungs of a ladder have been likened to a step-wise progression since the 14th century. Also see low man on the totem pole
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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