"I try not to get to the point of overwhelming panic," Lundberg said. "Last week, I was just very depressed. The way ... I cope is I think of the worst possible scenario. I don't think I will ever end up on the street. I could survive it."
Many in her predicament are doing just that, fighting to survive until they can find something permanent.
Reshma Vohra knows all about such battles.
Vohra, 32, worked at Ciena Corp., once a high-flying maker of fiber-optic equipment in Linthicum.
She joined the company seven years ago assembling connectors to fibers and worked her way into systems engineering. Vohra made a good salary and was proud that she could buy a house.
"That is the first time I did something in my life," Vohra said with a smile. But Ciena and other technology companies slashed their work forces by 1.2 million people from January 2001 through March this year, according to Challenger, Gray, the outplacement firm. And the cuts, although they have slowed, are still going on.
Vohra, who is married and has a young son, was laid off in April.
"I'm still missing my work at Ciena. I have a tear in my eye," said Vohra. "I didn't want to leave the company. I am not mad at them."
The timing couldn't have been worse. Vohra's husband, an engineer, was recently laid off, too, she said. He is looking for work in Texas.
"I worry every single minute," Vohra said. "If I go to Subway or Burger King, it is $9 an hour. I cannot make anything."
Vohra recalls the day she was laid off. It was about 10:30 a.m., and several hours later she applied for unemployment benefits.
"My shoulders broke," she said.
Unemployment pays a fraction of what most professionals make, and the benefits last up to 26 weeks, although extensions are being granted. Many unemployed workers scramble to pick up temporary jobs, hoping that it becomes permanent work.
Mel J. Pilachowski doesn't know what will happen when his consulting job ends this summer.
Pilachowski lives in Catonsville but spends the week in Austin, Texas, where he is installing software for the city's transit system. In February, he was hired as an outside contractor by a company working on the Austin project, but he expects the job to end in August.
"As of August 1st, it is `What do I do now?' " Pilachowski said. "You start worrying about that now, and that is two months away. How long is it going to be? Two months, one day, six months? The objective is to be hired permanently with someone so you can go back to a normal life."
Work for Pilachowski has always been on the road. He worked for Interliant Inc., a Purchase, N.Y., technology company, and flew out of Baltimore on Sunday evenings or Monday mornings and returned home Thursday or Friday nights.
Pilachowski made $130,000 a year managing teams of workers who specialized in installing Oracle software.
"I was working, the money was going in the bank. You stop buying used cars and you start buying new cars," he said. "Your daughter gets married, you have the money to throw a bash. We were living the good life."
In July, the money stopped flowing when Pilachowski was laid off. He was promised two weeks' severance and vacation pay of $7,000. But Interliant filed for bankruptcy protection, and he received nothing, he said. For six months, Pilachowski looked for work. He and his wife cut their spending and lived off their savings.
"I am 56 years old; I am looking to retire sometime, or was. That becomes a dim reality," he said. "For a person who is older, you work all of your life, and through a numbers game your whole life changes. I could see it if I had done something wrong. It hurts, it hurts."
Pilachowski still makes good money, but much of it is eaten up by health insurance, which costs him about $900 a month.
"The future is uncertain," Pilachowski said. "Yes, I am working, but the future is uncertain."
For some unemployed professionals, the alternative to worrying and bombarding companies with resumes is taking a job below their skill levels. Some professionals sell clothes at The Gap; others brew coffee at Starbucks.
Joseph C. Camp took a job at Home Depot in Cockeysville six weeks ago.
Camp, 51, quit his job as a project manager of a digital mapping company in Mobile, Ala., because his wife received a promotion with the Social Security Administration in Baltimore. The couple moved, and nearly a year later Camp still didn't have a job.
"I was on the Internet all day long," Camp said. "I was writing different ... resumes. Staying home alone is tough."
About three months ago, his wife, Donna, encouraged him to apply at Home Depot.
"She was concerned that my morale was slipping and my confidence was slipping," said Camp, who works in Home Depot's garden center. "I did have some pangs: college educated, volunteer to the ballet, opera and symphony. Now, I have steel-toed boots, and I come home in my jeans and my baseball cap."