IMO it is kind of a problem with software in general. It is getting me down honestly; I could use some advice.
The modern software engineer is a glorified factory worker, except instead of making cars and computer parts we're making apps that help rich people get a little richer or get people to buy sh*t they don't need.
I envy people with actually meaningful jobs - doctors who save lives, journalists exposing the world's atrocities, politicians, anyone working on the cutting edge of anything, etc.
That is, why is there no way to innovate a new structure, given the degree of intrinsic support that would seem to exist?
And, software engineers in particular would seem well-suited to this task. If software is eating the world and we write software, then...
What is X?
(It’s tough, I’m 44 and I only figured it out last year, but I didn’t do it this way)
Now, how can you do X?
Is it a side hustle? Is it a spare time thing? Does it need millions of dollars? Does it need you to quit your job and change direction completely?
Can you get to X in five years?
If so, what is the single most important thing you need to have completed in 3 years?
To do that one thing, what’s the most important thing you need to have completed by January next year?
And to do that, what’s the single most important thing you need to have completed by March this year.
Now you have a goal - something to achieve by March. Write out 12 tasks to get you there and do one each week between now and then.
If you can’t come up with 12 tasks you can be more ambitious in your March goal. If you can’t fit it all in you need to scale back your March goal.
And then when you hit March, look at your one year target and figure out the next 12 weeks.
Hence the five/three/one year ambitions followed by a twelve week plan.
My plan is to save as much as my income as possible and retire early, possibly getting a part time job in a coffee shop to supplement my savings and maintain some interaction with people. Take a look into /r/FIRE if that sounds appealing to you.
Longer term, seek a similarly comfortable position that you find more meaningful.