We all know that the job market can be very challenging. You may find it more effective, rather than having a sequential “If Plan A doesn’t work, I’ll do B”, to explore multiple options in tandem: keep your eye out for things that look exciting and follow up leads that interest you, even if they don’t fit the Grand Plan. Who knows where they will lead? This might also help with the disappointment of not getting the only lectureship you’ve seen advertised in your specific research area in three years. Continuing to explore multiple options can make you feel less helpless.
So, how can you feel more in control? Part of it is knowing that you are doing everything you can. Whilst doing your research degree, you need to be strategic. If you know you want an academic job, you need to be making sure you are ticking off some of the essential criteria you will see on those job adverts. If you want a job outside the academy, you still need to make the most of as many opportunities as possible, but will need to know how to frame these to make your experience attractive and relevant to diverse employers.