Simple fact is, though, that there's no path forward here that I can see absent divine intervention. Nobody wants me for anything skilled, and no one's going to want me for anything skilled. My degree is worthless, my skills are worthless--by definition, economically worthless, because no one is willing to pay me to employ them. They save me a few shekels there and there because I don't need to pay some idiot $100 an hour to replace a circuit board in my stove, or to put a new lower bearing in the washing machine, or to configure my home network, or to install a new alternator, or-or-or...but they don't make me any money, and they simply aren't going to.
You know, Og once told me the story of a field service engineer who installed a solenoid valve backward. Valve is meant to dump fluid into a catch tank at certain times. Guy installed valve, turned on machine, and it blew the seals in a $3,500 pump, wrecking it. (Pumps can be rebuilt, but manufacturing means everything must work 24/7 and it costs money for a machine to be out of commission.) Guy installed new pump, and it blew its seals in a matter of seconds just like the first pump.
Anyway, a couple repetitions later, Og goes to check out the problem. Turns out that Guy had plumbed the valve's inlet to the catch tank and the outlet to the pump, exactly backwards. Now, the people who designed the valve, they made sure that people understand which way fluid is supposed to flow through the valve, and they very carefully indicate where the fluid is supposed to come into the valve by marking that port "inlet". This is because valves like that won't work if you try to force fluid through them backward. But it apparently escaped this experienced field engineer that "inlet" means "inlet FOR THE VALVE".
Og switched the pipes around WITH GUY WATCHING, and the machine worked perfectly.
Guy then proceeded to install the same solenoid valve backward on several other identical machines, blowing their seals and requiring rebuilds of their $3,500 pumps. I don't know what that guy makes, but he makes a hell of a lot more money than I do.
Of course, I couldn't wire a three-phase motor without consulting the Internet, so what the hell do I know. Obviously, I'm useless. The best I can hope for at this point is being a phone slave supporting something other than billing. As shitty as that is.