Did I underachieve in life?

Compared to what? I’ve read this post some time ago and have wanted to reply, but then thought differently because I’m not going to be as supportive as everybody else. Still it kind of stuck with me and I decided to reply nevertheless…

I value your responses on this board, you seem like a knowledgeable bloke when it comes to finances in Switzerland. But this post gives me some strong fishing, r/iamverysmart vibes.

Did you underachieve? It depends on the metric I guess.

Your childhood was difficult, you’ve got a great opportunity through great social policies (school psych evaluation and then paid private school) and you sort of squandered it at first but it provided you with a great opportunity to do the internship (I assume you wouldn’t have been able to do it without the Gymnasium). So no, I don’t think you underachieved, hell financially, you overachieved! If you hadn’t flunked out would you be earning that much? How many people with a masters are earning less than you at 32? Look at this table!

You actually failed upwards, financially! You have no degree and earn more than most graduates who finish about the same age as you do and by the time you’ll be done you’ll be earning more than most of them most likely. Also you earned money while they did not for many years.

Morally/ethically, could you have done something to benefit society instead rich clients, maybe. Could your achievements in ITER mean free energy for everyone! Maybe!
That’s where “virtue signaling” comes in to me. You can go ahead and do that. Hell, save some money now and take the time off to go back to school.

I would give up a pretty decent career in banking for it. It would also be a lot of hard work. Early 20s, living at parents home, working 8-16h/week…so much easier. I just couldn’t manage it now. And it would probably put early retirement out of the picture.

But you’re happy with where you are. Enjoy it!


Surprising numbers, thanks for sharing. So the top 25% earn 100k gross 5 years after finishing a Bachelors degree and 110-115k gross 5 years after finishing a Masters degree. You are right that without the Gymnasium I wouldn’t have got the internship. This diploma actually saved me as there weren’t many alternatives.

That’s depends of what do you mean successful.

I had this conversation with my wife in regards of our kids and an article that I read about the kid’s future income and family wealth correlation.

Summary of my wife and I conversation
I want my kids to be happy, independently of the money that they will earn (this will be a success)
Good studies centers, universities open some doors and connections that other doesn’t (anyway you need good grades or really good connections).
It is much harder to climb the ladder from the bottom rather than the entering at the middle (open door based on education and background)


I know that one could view this as a sociopathic behaviour, but it really resonated with me.

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Sheesh now I want to know how it finishes.

Nice way to overturn things, though.

edit: I mean I’d love if someone tells me how that scene finishes. I realized I might not want to see the movie…


It’s not a movie, but a series called The Dropout, which is based on the life of Elizabeth Holmes, which created Theranos and turned out to be a complete scam. The whole story is in fact worth checking out, it’s fascinating! The actor representing Elizabeth Holmes is so eerily right, it’s amazing!


You did well in life. You are successful in your own way. Own it, be proud, you have reasons !

On getting back to university (my opinion): do it if you want to prove something to yourself. Prove that you can accomplish it. To achieve something you have not done yet. But not for others, for job. You seem perfectly capable of scoring points at work.