Response the the erstwhile Nebraskan, current Arizonan causticveracity
There are places for "smart" people to work in areas that are not universities but are not menial job hell. When living outside of my comfort zone (where I can talk about ideas with someone or anyone also interested in similar things), I also have had feelings of contempt, then guilt, then anger, and a desire to escape.
I'm not fully proud to say that I have a sort of psychic need to be in a situation, like a classroom, where I can talk about ideas at length (I haven't found another place where this is available yet), and people can allow me to show them how to do something with their minds. It's a basic need for authority and respect that a good teacher needs. It's depressing when I don't get that respect; I just wouldn't know what to do if I had no prospects of some kind of meaningful position in teaching, management, or a field where I could be acknowledged as an expert.
What the average American Buddhist might tell you to do would be to deny your self and ego, and try to be as happy as possible within your given situation. I say that the situation, or the context, is what primarily determines one's happiness, and as long as changing the situation is possible, it's good to change the situation. No amount of meditation could have brought me happiness while I was spending 40 hours a week in a cubicle farm.
I recommend working as a couselor for people like yourself, working in education where one can use and utilize intellectual prowess, or finding a niche where one could be an expert. (For me that would probably be editing a newspaper op/ed page.)
And: you're not the only one who perceives that they're holding themselves back. That's how I feel about grad school.