What do you mean by "distinguish yourself from others"? Why would you want to distinguish yourself from others?
And you feel uncomfortable because you've been conditioned to be a wage slave since you could talk.
Money is artificial and when AI and robots are producing more than we can consume (post-scarcity economy) there's no reason not to give it out for free.
A scientist is different of a lumberjack. Our experiences shape us, idleness can't bring us anything good if we aren't doing something of our lives on the side. It's not about being a wage slave, it's about doing something I'd love to do, as Ikarus said earlier.
"there's no reason not to give it out for free."
You're right about money, I wasn't questioning that, I'm questioning idleness itself, and the (in)ability of people to gain more than the standard revenue by taking risks (machines will do it), exercising a job related to producing very high-precision/quality stuff (jobs taken by machines), and so on. I don't think pure communism wage-wise would solve anything, since we, by nature, want always more. I can't see a society like this one working, yet it's coming in 30 years or so (estimated that a large chunk of jobs will be destroyed in that period of time thanks to automation), not with a fully fleshed-out AI, but with sufficient abilities at one task to be able to take the job of a human person. It's also disheartening that most of what we're learning today will be completely useless in the (relatively) near future.