One of the things that helped me the most to accept different levels and stop judging people for not being as smart as me (because I'm CLEARLY the cleverest guy in the office, natch) was when I went into contracting - I went from 3rd Line Permie dealing with the Rockstar stuff and avoiding customers to a 1st Line Contract role. Which meant I had to sit and speak to everyone. All day. Some were lovely, some were babbling rage monsters. But I had to be nice, curteous, polite, and deal with their issues as best I could in the time I had available before I had to kick it upstairs (and there's nothing more frustrating than knowing how to fix a problem, but having to kick it to 2nd Line because the fix will take too long).
I'd been on the 1st Line desk when I first started out in IT many moons ago, and I'd always seen it as a bottom rung to leave as quick as I could. Going back after all that time climbing up the tree was an eye opener, and has made me far better at the whole soft skills side of things.
Would I do a 1st line job again? Not if I can help it - I like to dig into things and deal with the juicy problems nobody else can fix. But I no longer look down on 1st line guys like I used to as the runts of the litter.
I'm still the Alpha though...