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My third-of-life crisis

I would have been in a similar situation had it been not for my second chance. My parents forced me into an area of study I didn't like, Although, I later managed to switch universities and courses into what I wanted to get into. It did end up meaning being dependent on them for a few more years and it wasn't a very comfortable experience.

But its not that I can't relate to how you feel right now. Even through I work in the field I like, my company discriminates heavily based on post graduate education. For example, if you have a postgraduate degree or a PhD, your pay and the sorts of projects you get to work in tend to be significantly better and more interesting than if you just have a degree. It makes me think that if I got into what I did sooner and spent as many years in university, I'd also have had a PhD. And work done by most other companies in this area is not as interesting. I'd probably fall asleep as I've done previously. When you have differentiated experience based on qualifications like this, something to the effect of Mathew's law start to play. Those with better qualifications get better and better doing more challenging work and those with less qualifications are always left doing grunt work.

Anyway, I've stopped waiting for my job to make me better. I've stopped spending weekends and overtime doing office work. No matter how much effort I put into them, it's more or less the same work over and over. It does not scale. It does not take me where I want to go. It does no feel like I am pushing my limits. However, I am also not in a position to just quit my job and study for a couple of years. So I've gone on a self-directed journey to fill gaps in my knowledge with MOOCs and courses and take other initiatives like personal projects and such. It does cut heavily into my social life and a few other sacrifices. I am not even sure how well this will pay out. But it just feels too damn frustrating to not do anything about it.