Some thoughts: OP's Dad doesn't want admit to his son he prefers driving a bus. OR OP is assuming he doesn't when he actually does. OP's Dad certainly knows he is displaying a remarkable lack of initiative when it comes to learning new languages and it sounds like he's manufactured some excuses to satisfy the family. Bus driving is an addictive Zen like experience, I-kid-you-not, so I might be right.
No, OP's dad is sick and tired of working for an industry that drowns him with its stress, misery, and corporate bullshit. The reason for finding an excuse to give your family is that they are expecting you provide them with a/an (upper?) middle class lifestyle. Screw your happiness and reduced levels of stress; what matters most to them is your paycheque and what it can offer them. For some people, $20+ more per hour is not worth rotting away in a cubicle, while being treated like a replaceable nobody, always being belittled like a child at every review for "not meeting company goals", all the while being part of the very reason the company is making millions of dollars a year. All for what? A white picket fence that ultimately adds no meaning whatsoever to life?
I'm single and turning 32 this year. I'm beyond sick and tired of this industry. I'm constantly put down like a piece of disposable garbage; and yet every time I leave a company, management is freaking out and begging me not to leave because of the success I've brought them. I can't imagine being a dad, with the burden of responsibility that adds. I'd be having my first heart attack before age 40.
Why pay $100-200k USD per year + stock options + 401k + an expensive health care package to an American developer when you can outsource to hard-working Canadians for less than $60k USD - with no stock options, no retirement package, and an extremely cheap benefits package? Also, our federal government reimburses companies a significant portion of our salaries simply for employing us (the "SR&ED" program for research and development, but everyday development is fraudulently claimed as R&D by every company - SR&ED is a scam, where their agents nudge you in meetings to reword your basic web development as somehow qualifying as "R&D").
Developers in Canada are largely taken advantage of. Most of the companies who employ developers here only do so because they are getting 2-4 developers for the price of one they would have to pay to hire locally within the US. So yes, I'm burned out because developers in Canada are treated as nothing more than a cheap alternative. We may as well be India up here.
There was no final warning bell for everyone that from here on out you are 100% responsible for maintaining a skill set. It was so gradual it could have (and was by a lot of people) been missed.
I think the lesson is broader that passion for writing code. With equal intelligence and resources anyone will likely be crushed by someone with more motivation. How many scientists did great things because of insane drive bordering on or crossing into obsession?
To me the lesson is there is not one simplistic goal (learn coding, get a degree, etc) that will bring you success in life, monetary or otherwise. We have to be diligent through our lives because not only are the rules elusive, they're likely changing as we learn them.
I'd miss the building something part, and the intellectual challenges, be it understanding the business logic better, or debugging complex issue.
But, to be honest, unless I'm very mis-informed, the difference in renumeration would be the first issue I'd face.
Contract based cleaning was actually fairly lucrative not too long ago, particularly for overnight cleaning. It paid 2-3 times (maybe more) what you would make from being employed as janitorial staff. This all changed when large managed service companies started to be a thing and a local contract cleaner couldn't compete with professional salesmen. In turn it meant that well paying cleaning jobs became a thing of the past.
Source: My father ran his own one or two man cleaning business. He was making much more at this in 1990 than when he retired (as an employee) in 2010.
Bus driving is an addictive Zen like experience