Pizza Ladder

A Culips listener from South Korea sent us an email asking about Andrew’s use of the expression pizza ladder in Simplified Speech #010 First Jobs. If you haven’t heard this episode yet, you should do so now!

Today’s blog is dedicated to explaining what pizza ladder means.

In the episode, Andrew and Morag talk about their first jobs. Morag shares that she worked in a pizza place while she was in high school. She says:


I started answering phones and taking people’s orders and
I moved up and was promoted to be a cook.


In response, Andrew makes a (bad) joke by saying:

Nice, so you worked your way up the pizza ladder.


Morag then replies:


Yeah, the corporate pizza ladder!


Andrew’s joke plays on the idiom to climb up the corporate ladder. When you climb up the corporate ladder, you advance through the hierarchy of a company.

For example, pretend you get a summer internship at a big company. Then after the summer is over, you get hired as a junior level employee. Several years later, after a lot of hard work, you get promoted to a management position. Then many years later, you get promoted again, this time to a senior level position. This is a clear image of the idea of climbing up the corporate ladder. You start at the bottom of a company and then work your way up to a better job/position.


So, when Andrew jokes that Morag worked her way up the pizza ladder he means that Morag was able to get increasingly better jobs, but not at a corporation, at a pizzeria. She started answering phones but then got promoted to a cook.

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