You sound like a more bitter version of me. Did you like your PIs? My parents are scientists so I've always sort of known that the science world is as you describe, and I had the big advantage when starting grad school to know that it was critical to pick a PI that personally cared and took their mentorship responsibility seriously. I frankly didn't even really care about what kind of work they did, or wether they were renown. I knew I'd do good work in the right environment, and everyone would win. As a result, all the PIs I worked with until graduating were top-notch, and are still looking out for my best interests.
Unfortunately, like you, I had little interest in academia, and got into programming in a big way. This has derailed me a bit, as making this jump ain't easy. CS people don't care about good publication records in prestigious journals. And while I have some pretty good programming and algorithm skills (I smoked the other CS undergrads and grads in the few CS courses I took while doing my bio PhD), at the end of the day, my degree isn't just the wrong one, but it's a bit of a red flag.
Don't sell out, but if any of those friends are in good places to affect hiring, then get over the imposter syndrome, swallow the pride, and start pushing them to hook you up with a job. I used to think that it was a problem that the world works this way instead of by merit, but I've since come to accept, even appreciate, that perhaps it's all about the human connection anyways: when it comes to the workplace, a brilliant asshole is mostly just an asshole. I did end up finding a job that I find pretty interesting, leverages my unusual education, pays well, and is giving me the chance to build some demonstrable bragging rights if I ever want to pursue a more software-centric career. All I had to do was ask, and be a bit shameless.