I've been a full-time software developer for the past 3 years, since graduating with a Computer Science degree. I initially had a lot of passion for this field - I used to spend my free time writing all kinds of things (artificial intelligence for various board games, a ray-tracing 3d renderer, mods for various computer games, etc...), a passion which grew the more I learned. I loved knowing this stuff.
The thing is, I was home-schooled before university and I would often be free by noon (okay, criticize my grade-school education if you want, I still graduated university with a perfect 4.0 gpa, so my parents must have done something right). I never had many friends, and I'd spend most of every day in my room, just keeping myself occupied (playing games, programming, watching tv, building neat things with my construction sets, reading). Hence, "normal life" for me is very slow-paced.
University was damned stressful to me since I wasn't used to the ridiculously huge workload, but having 3 months vacation in the summer, then another month in the winter, allowed me to sort of recuperate from that and give my mind a "reset". It was also fun and exciting looking forward to a completely new semester, of courses of my own choosing, after the summer.
This programming job though... well, objectively it's the best I could hope for. Friendly coworkers, almost never any overtime, pays really well - but it's tedious and dull as hell. It's also getting really hard to keep up with technology (which is now seriously impacting my productivity). The absolute last thing I want to do after programming all day long, every single day of my life, is learn more about programming. The passion I once had is now totally dead.
I'm tired of this, very burned out. The measly 2 weeks of vacation I get per year is nowhere near enough to really "reset". What the hell is the point of going on living when you're whole life revolves around the office? Having to restrict life solely to evenings and weekends only, for the next several decades until I can retire, is just so damned depressing when, for most of my life before, I actually owned most of my life.
Now, I feel like my employer owns me, but because I have a "good job" (according to my dad, and society in general I guess) I'm not allowed to complain.
My question is: Considering my above described objections with the conventional work schedule and preferred lifestyle, what can I, as a young and competent professional do to find more meaning and motivation with the said arrangement? For example, should I consider looking for a different career path or discuss my preferences with my manager to find mutually agreeable terms under which I will find work-life balance as well as be a productive team member?