This Maryland Day CSP Makes History with Bagels

Today is Maryland Day, an official observance to honor Maryland history. To celebrate, the Founding Partners of the CSP team enjoyed a Maryland-themed bagel brunch thanks to a special delivery from our neighborhood bagel shop, THB Bagelry & Deli.

While it seems so simple–bagels and coffee in our office–it’s really the first time we have done this in several months. So in a way, we made history this Maryland day with our first “mini” in-office team breakfast.

While enjoying New York-style bagels, we got to discussing the great “return to the office” debate many companies are facing right now. Our team connects with experienced job candidates and successful small to mid-size companies every day, so it was interesting to talk about the perspectives candidates and companies have been sharing with our team members.

Here are just a few of the insights and predictions that came up during our brunch–from the future of in-office requirements, to reopening timelines. The one factor that resonated throughout was the need for flexibility.

The current landscape: remote work vs in-office  

We are seeing a pretty even split between in-office versus remote work requirements today, with many workplaces having adopted a hybrid model as well.

In regard to company expectations of remote work moving forward, we’re seeing some take a firm stance, requiring on-site work full-time and limited flexibility, which has ultimately limited their candidate pool. Clients who are requiring 100% on-site work but allow greater flexibility versus having a blanket policy for the whole organization are seeing more interest from a broader candidate pool for open positions.

From the candidate perspective, the majority want the opportunity to find an operating rhythm that works best for them and have the support of the organization they work for to do so. Even if they are not satisfied with their current role, many are staying put as a result of uncertainty about what a new company may require them to do when things open up. Even if a new role allows them to begin remote, they are not sure about future shifts to in-office requirements.

Reopening timeline

We are seeing the timeline of reopening offices be based predominantly on size and perception. Small to mid-size privately held organizations appear to be on a faster timeline, with some of those organizations having already reopened for normal business hours. It appears that the majority of these organizations will have put some type of reopening procedures in place by the beginning of Q3 at the latest. For larger and most likely public companies, they seem to have a much longer reopening plan in place, extending till beginning of Q4 if not January of 2022. While the health and wellbeing of employees remains priority, companies are using this time to evaluate their office space for the foreseeable future. Do they need less space or more space? Do you have a traditional office layout or more open space?

Flexibility is key

Some candidates are adamant about remaining remote and will not consider an opportunity if it requires in-office work. Meanwhile, we hear others miss the collaboration and interaction and are eager to get back into the office.

More often than not though, most candidates want some level of flexibility to work from home a few days a week or adjust their schedule to meet personal obligations such as virtual learning for their kids or care for an elderly family member, or simply they have found themselves to be more productive when they are working from home with less office distractions. If a candidate has flexibility in their current role and a new opportunity doesn’t offer it, they’re more likely to opt to stay in their current role to maintain that flexibility.

Companies that prioritize flexibility will see the greatest opportunity in terms of candidates who want to work there, and employees who want to stay. As we saw in the market in the past decade with healthcare benefits and costs being evaluated by candidates considering a move, we are now seeing remote work flexibility being another aspect of evaluation for a potential career move.

 We’ll continue to keep up the dialogue around workplace expectations and employee values when it comes to how and where they work.  And for those wondering, our own office is in a flexible state right now, which is why you don’t see all of our team members enjoying bagels today. When it’s all said and done, CSP will continue to offer a hybrid work schedule with some in-office team meetings expected.


Why Boomer loves Mondays – A Story of Positivity & Persistence

by Bryan Howe

In February 2020 I was packing to go to DC for a Washington Capitals game. Boomer swiftly stole my socks I had dropped on the floor and I chased after him. I caught him and reminded my fiancé Charlotte how nice it would be to have a night away from the “little man”. We left Boomer with Charlotte’s sister and were on our way to DC to enjoy the game.

On the drive home Sunday morning, we received an alarming call that Boomer had not eaten all weekend and was acting sluggish. We rushed home and whisked him to the local Pet ER. After a week of countless tests and visits to three different vet hospitals, Boomer was diagnosed with a very rare bacterial infection in his chest cavity, which was causing his right lung to collapse. He would endure three different procedures, including a five-hour thoracic surgery to open his chest and flush out the bacteria and abscess. Boomer slept in the hospital for six straight nights before he could return home.

After a traumatizing couple of weeks, Boomer settled in at home and we felt so blessed to have him back safe and on the road to recovery. As difficult as it was for our family, Boomer was resilient in keeping his smile and would always wag his tail when we would visit him in his kennel. Although a difficult transition at first, he returned to his normal self just two months later… when he brought my socks out from my room to chew on. 

Soon after this experience,  we were confronted with a global pandemic. Charlotte and I found ourselves  working from home. The upside–it gave us more time to be around Boomer. It was out of this pandemic, pushing us to spend more time together that “Boomer Mondays” was developed.

“Through these unprecedented times, Boomer remains positive. He still plays with his toys, chews his bones, loves his walks, and enjoys the extra time I have to spend  with him. He reminds me every day that positivity is what we all need right now.” – from the first Boomer Monday post.

We felt compelled to share his message of resilience and positivity as we knew he had been through hell when he was fighting his infection. Throughout his illness, Boomer was always smiling, and you would never know the pain he was facing. We were fortunate to be able to be around him as he recovered–even when all he asked for was a head scratch and blanket to sleep on. 

Remaining positive was all that Boomer knew to do. Simplistic in nature, he was a reminder that in a world out of your control, it could be easier to manage with a smile. We did not know at the time the magnitude of the pandemic and its impact on everyone’s lives but felt it paramount to remain positive. 

We wanted to thank everyone for their support of his posts and most of all the dedicated veterinary staff of the Towson Pet+ER and Animal Emergency Hospital in Bel Air for saving Boomer’s life and allowing him to enjoy Mondays and every day. Here we are in February 2021, nearly a year later to the day and with his tail wagging furiously, he reminds us to stay positive.   

The Wall

by Johnny Black

For the longest time, I have always been inspired by a good quote. When I heard something that stuck with me I typically wrote it down on a Post-It Note or typed it into my iPhone.

When we started CSP in 2013, I knew I had to find a place to read them daily and so “The Wall” was formed. Today, I have nearly 100 quotes or sayings on my wall. The ones I am most fond of are typically from the people who have influenced me in my career and life. They span from sports figures to successful business leaders to musical artists and of course some originals as well.

I’ve never been a bookworm and as I get older and time gets shorter I realized all I need is 5-10 words to affect me tenfold. Below are some of my favorites from The Wall:

“You have to work hard to be lucky.”

~Umi Sake Fortune Cookie

“To make $1M, you have to have the shot at making $2M.”


“Life is too short to be living someone else’s dream.”

~Hugh Heffner

“Anyone can lead when the plan is working. The BEST lead when the plan falls apart.”

~Matt Doud

“You gotta love living baby. Because dying is a pain in the ass.”

~Frank Sinatra

“Toughness is taking the road less traveled and living by that decision day in and day out, 100% of the time.”

~Lynchburg Lacrosse

“Fear: Best motivator, worst distractor.”


As I reflect on 2020 and life slowing down due to COVID, I’ve appreciated spending time reading my favorite quotes on The Wall. As we look forward to a fresh start in 2021, I leave you with this quote and hope it inspires you.

“Your setback is just a setup for your comeback.”

~Ray Lewis

So next time you hear a motivating quote, shoot me a note and let me add it to #thewall…




By Patrick Fitzgerald

Have you ever wondered when the appropriate time to conduct business on the golf course might be? Or perhaps how to make the round both enjoyable and beneficial for you and your clients?

Rather than conducting business in a conference room or corner office, networking and administering business in open, unconventional spaces has become the new norm, especially this year.  With businesses moving towards a more casual environment and with special consideration being given towards the health and safety of others due to COVID19, it’s not uncommon for a business meeting or networking opportunity to present itself on the golf course.

Courses around the country have had their busiest year to date as many are taking advantage of the safe, outdoor environment. Being outside in nice weather for a few hours with friends, colleagues, clients, and family has been a great way to keep sane during these times. But what happens when you’re playing a round with a mentor or prospective client? How and when do you bring up and discuss business? At the start of the first hole? After the round is over? Do you set up a time to discuss at another time?

In order to be both professional and personal with your guest, the most appropriate time to discuss business on the golf course starts on the 5th hole (about an hour into the round). While it may be top of mind and something you’d like to move past so you can enjoy the game, it is not appropriate to jump right into business within the first hour of play. After all, you will be out there for four hours or more! Not only does it give everyone time to focus on perfecting their swing, but it also gives both you and your client time to talk about family, sports, weather, or whatever comes to mind prior to jumping into the business portion of your meeting.

Focus on the Relationship. Working for a search firm is all about relationships. In order to advance your career, you have to put yourself out there and meet new people. I like to take both candidates and clients out for a round a golf when I know it’s an activity we can both bond over and enjoy. While it may be a little outside of your comfort zone, you never know who you may meet and relationships you may make by accepting to play a round with people you don’t know. While on the course, it may take 4-6 holes in order to break the ice, get to know each other, and start having meaningful conversations. By the end of the round, you will have had to opportunity to close a deal or build a brand-new relationship.

Have Patience. Whether you are a serious golfer and play multiple rounds per week or you are the golfer who plays a few outings per year, being patient and handling business discussions after about an hour into the round always works well. If you jump right into outing discussing business on the first swing, you may rub some people the wrong way. This is especially important to consider when meeting people for the first time. Without the small talk, the ask will not be heard. Think about it, would you hand someone your business card or ask for referrals without really knowing the person or their product?

Build Trust. This is one of the most important values for any business, especially within recruiting at CSP. Our entire brand is built on building trust with our clients and candidates. While on the course, having that time to build trust goes a long way for both current and future business with whomever you are teeing off with. While building trust may not take just one round of golf with a client, another round in the near future may really make things beneficial for you and your client and solidify your interest in helping them.

I encourage everyone to take advantage of the unconventional workspace and bring your clients, prospects, mentors, and colleagues to the course (weather permitting). There is a lot of business left to discuss this year and what better way to do it than while enjoying the fresh air and possible a beverage or two – just remember to leave room for some casual conversation at first! CSP has been a sponsor for multiple golf outings throughout the Greater Baltimore area and we thrive on the relationships we’ve built there. I’m looking forward to seeing you all on the links soon.




The Show Must Go On

by Jen Schneider

One of the biggest things I have learned both personally and professionally is that there are times the show must go on. And for those who persevere, you and those around you will be stronger for it.

When I was 18, I auditioned and joined my first band – ‘Knock Off Ned’. Over the years I have continued to play in a few other bands, ending my classic rock career with ‘The Jen N Tonics’ alongside my dad, the drummer, and my now husband, who played guitar.

Playing in a cover band wasn’t always easy. We played in bars all over the Baltimore area and, as you can imagine, shows did not always go as planned. Technical issues and equipment are oftentimes tremendous hurdles, but more than that were the critics who would voice their opinions after each set. It wasn’t easy to continue to perform when someone would stand next to the stage waiting for your next break.

Now for me, wardrobe was important. I loved putting fun outfits together and I remember one show where I dropped my super cute “performance shirt” in the toilet (because the bathroom was my “dressing room”). I couldn’t just go to the owner of the bar and say, “Hey, I don’t have the shirt I want, we need to pack it up and call it a night.” I ended up wearing the tank top I had on even though it was sweaty and covered in dirt from hauling our equipment into the venue. In the end I don’t think anyone noticed.

One of the hardest obstacles to overcome was playing to no audience. My Number One fan was my mother who would always attend our shows, but there were nights where we were playing for just her and the bartender. Playing music for two people for two plus hours is tough. Crowd energy can make or break a show, but we always finished those shows with a smile on our faces (even when we didn’t feel like it).

As we navigate life in the time of COVID, I am reminded of the obstacles we faced when performing. Being a search consultant right now isn’t easy, and I think it is safe to say life during COVID isn’t easy in general. While I know those hiccups I mentioned are small compared to what everyone is facing today it reminds me that even when things don’t go according to plan, we as professionals have to perform. We must perform to support our families, to maintain momentum, and for me, to perform to offer the level of partnership to clients and candidates.

Whether it is navigating your Wi-Fi, homeschooling your kiddos, travel restrictions or missing Friday happy hours – all coupled with  the lingering anxiety and uncertainty surrounding a pandemic- you have to take a step back. As long as you continue to perform you will get the best outcome possible.

Last year ‘The Jen N Tonics’ came out of retirement after six years for a charity event. Even though we practiced for months before the show, we were rusty and made mistakes, but it was one of the best shows I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. We played for a great cause, Special Olympics Maryland, and I was blessed to perform with my sons (ages two and four at the time), my dad and my husband in front of some of the most important people in our lives.

During these times as we embrace this “new normal” I hope you are able to smile through the difficulties, support one another, sing, dance and continue to perform. Give yourself grace in those moments when you stumble because as long as you take a breath and continue pushing forward, the show will go on.