... Sure, in the short run, I was writing XML files and Java classes which, knock on wood, successfully let my employers ship an examination management system to their client (a major university). I was a really effective Turing machine which accepted emails and tickets as input and delivered (occasionally) working code and Excel files as output. But no matter how much I spun, nothing about my situation ever changed. I worked my week, got to the end of it, and had nothing to show. The next week there would be more emails and more tickets, exactly like the week before. The week after that would be more of the same. And absolutely nothing about my life would change. I'd end the week with nothing.
Don't end the week with nothing. Prefer to work on things you can show. Prefer to work where people can see you. Prefer to work on things you can own.