I don't hate my job but not interested in overly performing as I am not happy with my compensation.
No motivation to prepare for interviews in the current market
I just want to do whatever is assigned to me. I have no leadership skills, no confidence. No motivation to put lot of efforts and make an impact due to low compensation to fix my leadership and communication issues. It typically takes 2.5-3 years to get promoted to next level as an average engineer like me. I have been stuck due to immigration issues. Manager has too many reportees. Hiring freeze everywhere.
Do you have any recommendation on what to do in this case?
Sorry to hear about your situation - It definitely doesn't seem fun. Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad jobs, even in the cutting-edge tech industry, so this career trap happens to a lot of people.
I have 2 broad pieces of advice here:
4+ hours a day on side projects! How much of that was at work versus outside of it?
In my 2nd team at PayPal, I was able to get the work done in 2-4 hours most days. This team had a lot of "WFH" even though this was pre-covid (teammates mostly didn't do anything during their WFH days). During my WFH days (2-3 days a week), I finished up my work by 2PM and just worked on side projects for 4+ hours after that.
When I went into the office, I would leave early at like 4PM to hang out with 2 friends (they both lived near San Jose campus) to grind through side projects together. They also didn't like eBay/PayPal, so we all left within 1.5 years.