20 Times People Invested Their Time And Effort To Gain Knowledge That Ultimately Turned Out To Be Totally ‘Pointless’

Published 10 months ago

We plan for life but it doesn’t always go our way. While it’s frustrating to spend effort and time gearing up for something that never turns out to be fruitful, the sad reality is that with the pace at which change occurs around us, it does inevitably happen.

One Reddit thread explored things that people poured their attention into that turned out to be a total waste of time ultimately. As disappointing as it is, these folks spent many moons perfecting a skill or task that has since become totally obsolete or irrelevant. Scroll below for a litany of responses on the things people invested hours and hours of their time, only for it to have all become heartbreakingly pointless.

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#1 I got an aviation degree because it used to be the only way you could qualify to become and air traffic controller. The age cut-off is 30 and I graduated when I was 29. Well, they decided to “restructure” the hiring process mere months after I graduated and cancelled all hiring panels for 2 years. I aged-out and now have a f*****g useless degree that I still pay students loans on.

EDIT: First, thank you for the huge response. This happened about 11 years ago. I am making a lot of money doing something I love in another industry so don’t worry about me. It was devastating at the time but I’m content in what I’m doing now. (Had to edit that again because of all the people who are negative about hearing “everything happens for a reason” and “living my best life”) I’m happy and successful and if you can’t live with that, go be negative somewhere else.

To answer the most common question on here:
Why is 30 the cutoff age?: This is a very high-stress job that requires you to have a sharp mind at all times. It’s like playing a mathematical puzzle that kills 300 people if you f**k up. They offer/encourage retirement with pension at 55, but you need 25 years of service to be eligible, hence the oldest you can be to start the job is 30 years old.

Image source: Sufficient-Step6954, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

#2 I got a B.S. in biochemistry, then drove a forklift for 14 years. Now I’m an electrician.

Image source: HazrakTZ, ucniss

#3 In the 90s, my brother worked as fire watcher in Minnesota near the border. He lived in some remote location. Power but no phone. They cached his supplies for several months. Then nothing. Half-starved, he finally came out of the woods to see what was what. He’d been laid off. No one told him. No money in his account. Everybody was laid off and gone. Office dark.

Image source: AutumnTop, Forest Service, USDA

#4 This is the life of a geneticist.

The field moves quickly with the technology and techniques, but they are all very complex and difficult to learn. More than once in my life, I have poured myself into a specialized skill to be the best in the building, only to have that skill be obsolete the next year.

It never feels that bad, though, because the replacements are almost always faster, easier, and get you better results or else they don’t really take off.

Image source: zazzlekdazzle, U.S. Department of Agriculture

#5 I took 2 years of French instead of Spanish in high school. I live in Texas.

Image source: neilader, Cottonbro Studio

#6 Not hours per se, but lots and lots of money.

When I was a kid, CDs were king. This was also back when a typical cd was like $16 at Sam goody etc.

I’d mow lawns in my neighborhood – 4 houses on a weekend, and get $10 each, which was good for about a dozen albums a month.

My parents also gave me lunch money for school – $2 a day – which I pocketed for another album a week.

So basically I sacrificed nutrition and my weekends for the entirety of my middle school / early high school years to build up a massive album collection that was the envy of all my musician friends. It was glorious.

I thought for sure this would be the crown jewel of my adulthood and that I would pass them on to my kids someday.

….and then when the iPod / iTunes came out it was all pointless lol

Image source: roman_maverik, Brett Jordan

#7 Asian parent piano lessons. Didn’t make them happy, didn’t make *myself* happy, never got any good at it, gained no useful skills whatsoever for the several hundred hours per year for multiple years spent practicing

Image source: ThadisJones, MIKI Yoshihito

#8 Flintknapping. It always was pointless(but not, eh? Get it?) but so much fun

Image source: redditghost1234, Joshua Tree National Park

#9 Being a decent, hard working employee for a large multinational corporation

Image source: Fake_Account_6669, Pixabay

#10 I worked in high tech for 40ish years. Almost everything I learned became obsolete. It’s a treadmill.

Image source: zenos_dog, Olabi

#11 I know all the tricks to make a website look as good in Internet Explorer 6 as in Chrome, Safari or Opera.

Image source: CanisArgenteus, Christiaan Colen

#12 I have a bachelor’s degree in Astronomy from one of the world’s best universities. I now work as a software engineer.

Image source: JC3DS, Mount Rainier National Park

#13 Indigenous knotting. I used to be able to make the most beautiful dresses, armors, and regalia using traditional knotting and beading techniques. Broke my arm about a decade ago, got fat, and got arthritis. Now my hands don’t even work well enough to teach the next generation how to do it.

Image source: SellingMakesNoSense, A Yee

#14 Photography. Everyone with a phone thinks they’re photographers these days.

Image source: graemo72, Daniel Nugent

#15 WoW. I haven’t talked to any of my old guildmates in years. I got server first kills and worked my a*s off to be the top of my game, and it means next to nothing. I look back on the time I spent fondly and wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. But it really does nothing for me.

Image source: kynthrus, Bethany

#16 I spent half my Army career in various schools learning to repair nuclear missiles. Now I’m doing desktop support and teaching the new guys how to install printers remotely.

Image source: gadget850, @USArmy

#17 I built a customer service team from the ground up to support a client’s new product. Became the highest rated customer service group in the entire business. One day our phones went dead, called to test the line, was routed to a different customer service team. We’d been outsourced and they didn’t have the heart to tell us in advance.

Image source: Key-External8870, MART PRODUCTION

#18 I played around 12k hours of soccer, got pretty good at it but it didn’t worked out so now I’m an engineer that secretly can play soccer at professional level

Image source: qnta1, Selma Bears

#19 I managed to accidentally wipe the drive that held all my work. I’m a semi-professional game dev, there was 10 years worth of meshes, materials and code. It’s been 10 days, I’ve just been in a sort of state of shock, having tried and failed to recover the lost files.

Image source: MrSpindles, Kory Twaites

#20 I am a professional fingerboarder.

e: some [footage](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKZpk8ISwsM) lol

Image source: Elisionist, herotype0

Shanilou Perera

Shanilou has always loved reading and learning about the world we live in. While she enjoys fictional books and stories just as much, since childhood she was especially fascinated by encyclopaedias and strangely enough, self-help books. As a kid, she spent most of her time consuming as much knowledge as she could get her hands on and could always be found at the library. Now, she still enjoys finding out about all the amazing things that surround us in our day-to-day lives and is blessed to be able to write about them to share with the whole world as a profession.

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irrelevant skills, obsolete skills, pointless effort, pointless hobbies, pointless skills
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