Generally speaking, I only consider someone to be wasting their life when they are taking advantage of someone else or failing to fulfill their responsibilities and obligations. Nobody is obligated to do anything amazing and to work any harder than it takes to get by, but I think we are obligated to try to at least be worth our keep, so to speak.
Not that I'm particularly hard ass about this. I haven't held very many paying jobs. I have taken care of the household (at a bare minimum) and have been raising the kids at a somewhat better than bare minimum level. My oldest daughter is a college student and I told her she would either have to work or, if she couldn't find a job, volunteer to build up her resume last summer. She didn't do either and I didn't make a fuss. My younger kids are all still in school, so I consider that their jobs and we have a friend of my daughter's staying with us without paying anything because he can't afford it and he's a student.
When someone else is paying the bills, they get to call the shots. For a lot of people, it's worth it to deal with a crap job in order to have more autonomy. I felt that way when I lived at home, though, granted, my job was not horrible. I was the office girl for a carpet cleaning company, so I worked in a climate controlled environment and I was rarely treated rudely. I was paid minimum wage ($4.00/hr, if I remember right) and had to pay rent to my mother, pay the phone bill, my car insurance, gasoline, etc. My mom gave me the car, so I was lucky there. After that our financial situation deteriorated, so she needed me to contribute.
Anyway, I know I've only been poor by first world standards, but it is better to do the crap jobs when you are young and relatively healthy, so that, hopefully, you will have moved up the food chain a bit by the time you are older. When you are older, your body starts to give you problems and you may have responsibilities to other people. My husband is only in his early forties and he is starting to have health problems as a result of his job. But he has been working in his field long enough that now he earns a decent wage and we have been able to purchase a house without debt -- granted, the house was so bad the local slum lords passed it up -- but it's shelter no one can take from us.
If you don't start with something, things will never get better. And, it is often easier to get a job when you already have one than it is to get a good job when you don't have a job or much experience.