Well at least you seem to be in a position where you can anticipate a $55K salary. Think about that – it’s over $25/hour. You could be looking at a job, say, changing truck tires for $8/hour. Coming home dirty, exhausted, with busted knuckles and missing fingers. Don’t be so quick to deride the air-conditioned, hour for lunch, clean safe job in a cubicle. The biggest worry seems to be that you won’t be appreciated or that some slacker will be getting the same pay for less work. Well guess what – nobody at the truck stop appreciates the guy busting his *** changing tires, and there’s probably a slacker where he works too.
Nobody really likes those jobs. They do them because they can’t get out, they cant do anything else. If you don’t like working in an office for $55K, you really wouldn’t like those other jobs.
Work is hard. Hard work is harder. If you hate what you’re doing it’s even worse. I think this has some basis in entropy & thermo. At least you’re in a position to understand that.
Your story about the engineer fixing problems, and being ‘rewarded’ with more work: this is a typically slacker point of view. Other variants “I told them how to fix the problem but they wouldn’t listen.” “My boss stole my idea.” “I told them procedure would not work, guess, what - they told me to write a new one.” And so on. You will hear this whining wherever you go. It has nothing to do with being a scientist, or an engineer, or a doctor or a salesman.