Originally Posted by Acting Like Godot
He did not consider himself a failure when he worked at a patent agency. He was not depressed over his job at the patent agency. He was depressed over his inability to resolve the incompatibility of Newtonian mechanics and Maxwell's equations.
By the way, working as a patent clerk (despite the unglamorous word "clerk") is not a job for idiots. Nowadays we call them "patent examiners". An engineering or science degree is the minimum qualification you need, and many patent examiners would have a masters degree in engineering/science. They will also be given legal training.
Ah, I didn't mean that Einstein considered himself a failure because
he worked at a patent agency -- although I personally suspect the job (or not getting a job at a university) had something to do with his negative feelings. After all, it had been very important to his father that he succeed academically and his father had tried very hard to get him a post at a university and was disappointed in his son who turned out to be only "mediocre". So I do believe that it would be strange if Albert wasn't the least bit disappointed in himself, caused by his father's great demands. It's not unusual to try and live up to one's parents' expectations and have negative feelings as one fails.