Yes and no.
It is late. I am bored. Waiting for a render. So I will summarize how things went for me from my very very subjective perspective for the young guys who are starting.
Let them decide if it is worth it.
A life doing CG is a life, making art. And it has a few phases. And each phase can be stretched to infinity.
1. Learning phase. Although the CG art demands continuous learning like medicine, there is a time the frequency of learning new stuff is high and then it slows down but never stops.
This phase starts from your learning grounds (the school or your cave where you first started to watch tutorials). It goes up to the point where someone briefs you for a job , leaves you alone without technical supervision to complete it in a given time and you get money. If you reached this point and you dig different workflow approaches rather than tutorials or learning only “the necessary new software”, I would consider you a master at your own level, at peace and balance with the learning phase. There will always be people or teams way better than you, moving mountains but that doesn’t mean you are not adequate. If you are delivering and able to satisfy clients without help, you are a master at your own level however low or high. Just be mature to acknowledge there are other levels with their respective masters operating on them.
2. Self-Discovery / Accumulation of Ideas Phase. You are now one of the people doing visually interesting stuff and you are making money working for someone, you have a purpose and feel good about yourself. Then, you slowly start to get tired of limitations. It is only natural as you grow. So a body of ideas starts to build inside of you. Like, “oh if we did this instead of what the client wanted, it would have been so much cooler.” Or you break through some technical difficulty and wish you can even go further if you had your own way. When you are also working under inhumane conditions, these things really pile up. And your mindset starts to evolve from a worker bee to a project manager in disguise. You begin to notice major mistakes in your supervisor’s decisions and strategy. It is slow but in time, you get very confident that you want to do your own thing, Your own content. So you start to collect, plan ahead. Finally, you have enough juice for your first attempt at it. Whatever your idea is.
Now if you reach this point, a few things can happen,
a- You get scared of the challenge and bail out on your ideas.Keep it as a worker bee. Try to be content with it. Eventually, you will be. People will find you easier to communicate and love you at the company. You are a good worker. Working on cool projects. This is not bad. And can be very rewarding as you become a senior.
b- You get scared of the challenge and bail out on your ideas. Yet you are not at peace with what you are doing and become a conflicted negative person. You hide behind a mask of professionalism, live in denial that all of this is your own choice, blame the industry, waste away your precious years in your not so comfortable comfort zone on a somewhat steady job and try to live with that. I have never seen this ending well.
c- You have a revelation about what you really want to do with your skill, you get out there and start to do your own thing/produce your own content.
If you choose a and b. That’s it for you. No more phases. So stretch it to infinity, as long as you can take it. Hopefully, a good retirement awaits you.
Option c takes you to the next step.
3. Creating Your Own Content Phase. Now, this can be education, where you sell/share your knowledge or it can be storytelling where you start selling stories or you can create assets or branch into design industry or apps, games,vfx, other parts of life using your amazing visual powers like a multiplier for better communication. When you do this, since you are calling the shots now, you are immediately introduced to the business side of things and see the work from a higher, different perspective. Now you have to think about a sustainable business plan and dance with some laws and regulations alongside the creative quality. At the beginning, you switch hats frequently between being a businessman and a supervisor creating art. This is quite hard and more stressful than anything you have encountered. Note that you are not very young at this point. But if you make it, eventually, you evolve into a full-time boss with a good judgment and eye, without doing the work yourself. You will have people working for your business. If you fail, with all the experience you have, you will probably not go back to phase 2. But try the 3rd phase again till you become successful.
And once you are successful, it is the best thing. You have made it in this life. A good income and a level of social acceptance everyone wants in the community…