I also dont think Blender 2.8o is more of less difficult to learn than Maya. I’ve heard some people claim that Blender is better because it’s easier to learn, which isn’t true in the slightest.
That’s quite personal, I started with 3dsmax which was also taught in school later on, but I never quite liked the interface so it never sticked (although I envied the vast majority of quality assets they have available). Then I tried Maya and I liked it a lot better so I used it for a few years… but it was by no means ‘easy to start with or pass on to others that are new to it’. Around the same time Modo began to gain traction (which was very primitive in those early days) but the interface and liquidity really made it a joy, so I’ve used it for 13 years. I had invested quite a lot in software and hardware so at the time Cinema4D was out of reach (cost is one thing but as you stated your investment in time is another), but for what I do it would have been the perfect match… as modo content is really limited, but that’s life. Recently I gave Blender 2.8 beta a try and I immediately saw similarities with other quality DCC’s and after a few days of research was on my way of using it. I didn’t even mind the different mapping of (navigation/hot)keys… because if you’re switching from a DCC to Zbrush and back you’re already used to quite a different set of navigation and general hotkeys and workflows. Surely plenty of thing I’ll have to figure out, but all in all it’s been a joy to work with so far.
Much depends on who you can learn from and there’s some really great tutors for Blender. Same is true for Zbrush (and other programs). If you can find those passionate about the software with a decent skill to explain things (William Vaughan and Richard Yot for Modo, GreyscaleGorilla for C4D, Michael Pavlovich for Zbrush, Andrew Price for Blender, … there’s plenty more), then the learning-curve is a lot less steep and you’re on your way quite quickly. Back in the day it’s quality content on GnomonWorkshop and DigitalTutors (now Pluralsight) which made a lot of skills available to others, so they also narrowed the choice to 3Dsmax or Maya (which was of course also linked to the professional industry so totally understandable).
Actually I don’t think we should care if it will ever surpass Maya or any program, as long as artists can use whichever software they are most proficient in (within those studios they work at) and enjoy the work they’re doing. And sure most studios require certain knowledge… so if you limit yourself you’ll often have to pass up on an opportunity because you’ve chosen another software package to be good at. That’s a loss for both, but should not be the end of your creative endeavour.