I feel the same.
To me it seems like this:
- If you want to mainly enjoy things outside of work and just see it as a way to finance those other things, the US might not be the best place.
- If you enjoy the work you're doing and want to work with other motivated people that are great at what they do: the US makes it a LOT easier.
Especially as an Engineer, the recognition and possibilities are vastly higher. I haven't seen a company in Germany that does a successful dual ladder system. I also haven't seen one that isn't riddled with MBA grads that mainly push Jira tickets around. Even smaller companies seems to think that's a necessity. I'm sure there are some examples that make it work, but it's seemingly a lot harder to find them.