Should one feel excited about the work cut out before them? When the work seems like a means to an end, and not the result itself?
Yes, we choose the meaning behind all the things we do. If something will lead to exactly what you want in life, then you must define it as such.
One shouldn’t focus on the work, but the goal that the work will bring you closer towards. A ladder is a ladder — and no matter how far down or at what part of the ladder you’re on, the end of the ladder still has your goal on the other side.