Originally Posted by Val
You’ve been given wonderful advice by every person here who replied to you. The way your responses are written tells me that you need to do some growing up. This means learning to accept that working hard is an essential part of success. It means accepting that the beginner jobs you look down on are actually the foundation of the advanced ones. You may not see this yet because, lacking the essential skills that are gained from working in a fast food joint or in a retail shop, you can’t see their value.

So, the thing here is that you have to grow up. This involves accepting that your future is largely your responsibility. It involves accepting that if you want ever to feel that you’ve accomplished something meaningful, you’re going to have to put in 8 hours a day. It involves accepting that nothing worth having comes easily.

Growing up is hard. It involves throwing away many juvenile ideas in favor of accepting hard truths. This process isn’t easy for anyone. I wish you well.
Respectfully, I'm disappointed with this post. "Growing up" whenever I see it used seems to me a euphemism for abandoning your passions and accepting the harsh reality of life. The context I see it used by a lot of people my age, is where they have finally realized that going after difficult jobs is pointless, and that what the real point of life is, is to get a decent paying job, start a family and settle somewhere. This depresses me. I will admit that I haven't worked at a fast food joint, but this was by choice, because I was occupying myself with trying to get better at my interests, and because I was confident that I'd be able to get a high paying job afterwards anyway. My problem is that I have a hard time accepting that I'm not special, and no matter how hard I work, I feel like I do not have the intelligence and temperament to become a high-level researcher, musician, writer, etc. and that I'll be relegated as I always have been to "boring" programming jobs. Or other jobs which are equally mundane. You would probably argue, life is "mundane" and you need to grow up and realize it! But if life really is as mundane as I see it now, instead of giving me motivation to work harder, it's only making me depressed.

You might think of this as being an immature viewpoint. But I don't use any of the math I learned in my entire degree. I can't use any of the writing skills I've developed over the years. I can't use my musical talent. However, because I can think logically, I can become a programmer no problem. But so what? It doesn't use any of my talents, and I just see myself atrophying over the years and wishing I was younger so I actually had the chance to find a passion and do well at it.

The problem isn't that I don't put in 8 hours a day. If I could achieve my goals just by working 8 hours (well, ok, more like 4 hours) a day for 2-3 years, I would do it. I'm frustrated that you seem to be blaming my "laziness" to be the issue. I'm not lazy, and I wonder where my posts seemed to convey that I was. The problem is that I'm not getting anywhere no matter what I put in. You can learn any number of "average" skills, but while you might find meaning in the ordinary activities of life, I don't see why you could expect everyone else to do so as well.

The fact that you talk about putting in 8 hours a day makes me think you've not thought this through. Diminishing returns set in pretty heavily after about 4 hours. If you mean sitting around or doing relatively menial tasks (stocking the shelves, answering email) that's fine but I don't see why that would help you attain a level of skill. On the other hand, if you can focus like a laser for 8 hours every day, that is extremely impressive to me, as I've driven myself crazy trying to do just that, but I simply can't. At some point my brain seems to get so fatigued that it becomes hard to string together coherent sentences, and this is probably after 4-5 hours. Not that I put in that amount daily, but I've tried, and it's incredibly hard.

I can't understand how someone could seriously write what's written here after really reading my posts. I showed vulnerability (and trust me, it's not that easy to open up to strangers on a forum) by honestly expressing where my frustrations come from, because these are things I seldom mention to people I know because it would come across as whiny, and no one wants to hear how someone obviously "successful" is oh-so-depressed and feeling like a failure.
And the response: You need essential skills gained from working at a fast food joint, nothing comes easily!!

The problem with telling someone quite intelligent that "all jobs are worthy" is that it trivializes their existential suffering. It's like telling the protagonist in Good Will Hunting that janitors have a worthy job, and that he should "grow up" and be happy about his circumstances. I find it ridiculous, but perhaps I'm too dumb to see the merit in such an argument.

Just to clarify, I really appreciate the other posts in the thread. It's just this one which struck a nerve.