When I started applying for Phd programs I had big dreams and goals on working on certain topics and spending lots of time in the field. I also had in mind some location and universities but I was flexible to some degrees on the university/location. It took me about 1 year to find a program I was (am) excited about and got accepted (top 10 US institution). Along the way I turned down possibilities with good funding because it was not my focus topic of interested.
Now after a year at my current program there are no funds in place and I am considering moving to programs that have already funding in place but in topics that are not my main interest because there is generally more money in these other topics. I am wondering at this point if I should settle for any topic that fits my skills and falls somewhat in my interests or stay in this roulette situation not knowing when I can really start the research I am interested in. I want to get started on a project and work on my thesis but I also am concerned of doing something that might set me on the wrong track or compromise too much (less interesting research field, worse PhD program, less known university, no fieldwork).
Given the current funding situation especially for certain fields, do PhD students these days have to lower their expectations on pursuing their topic of main interest? . I mean these days people struggle to find a regular job. I would like to add that I am also flexible on the questions I want to pursue within my field, I have flexibility but the funded projects are rare.