Do you know the answer to this question?
The name of the cleaning person at your office.
Or do you recognize yourself in these descriptions?
When a special project comes up, you always volunteer to take it on.
You never take a vacation or if you do, you are constantly checking emails or calling the office.
According to the experts, you might be -- or are heading toward being -- an office martyr.
And they are more prevalent in these shaky economic times than ever, they say.
Jamie Conley, regional vice president of Robert Half International in Tampa, knows a martyr when he sees one. Because he admits to being one himself at times.
"I've taken on a lot of work at times, I've put it on my own shoulders and, sometimes to impress a manager, I've taken on a big project," he said.
Office martyrs often perceive their productivity is better than others, they don't delegate when they can, and they often let others -- particularly their boss -- know about their extra efforts.
"It's the person in the office that jumps on a grenade," Conley said.
Two big factors have propelled these traits in recent years: the economy and technology.
"People have had to pick up and do more, that's true across the workforce," said Bob Bartz, president of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce.
Bob Beck, managing partner/owner of Automated HR Solutions, agrees.
"People are concerned about the future of their employment," he said. "Most people that have that concern will have a tendency to attempt to overachieve for self-preservation."
Sally Hill, with Suncoast Workforce, the agency that deals with job seekers on a daily basis, says tough times are molding employees in different ways.
"When employees are facing potential layoffs, the work environment can become tense, which can change employee behavior," she said. "Some individuals may become unproductive while others may become zealous about showing their worth."
Even as the economy turns around, Beck cautions to not expect overworkers to disappear.
"It is part of today's workplace," he said. "There is no magic that will change that, it's something that has developed over the course of the last three years."
The big bad technology monster also has spurred the constant interconnectivity of worker and office. You can't get away even
when you are away.
"Even on pregnancy leave and vacation, peo-ple stay in touch," Bartz said. "Mobile technology, you can't get away from it."
The question is: Can you do anything about a martyr in your office? After all, they can make the average worker look, well, pretty average.
Conley and Beck agree that letting your boss know you are aware of what's happening is one course of action to take.
"Let them know you are doing 110 percent," Beck said.
"Let your boss know what you are doing, if you are volunteering, taking an extra course," Conley said.
If you are the martyr, experts suggest there are ways to try to stop the habits that can leave you exhausted and burned out.
For an article in Stylist magazine, Naomi Climer, vice president of Sony Europe, suggests asking someone senior to be your mentor.
"You'll get an 'outsider's' view on your role and it's another person who knows what you're capable of," she says.
Nathan Anthony of The Insight Network believes assessing your life outside the office will help, too.
"Ask yourself why you feel the need to prove your worth and begin to build rewards outside of the workplace so you don't solely crave attention and accolades there," he suggested in the article.
Anne Lee, retail banking president for First Bank, admits she has many characteristics of an overachiever or office martyr.
But she sees it from a different perspective -- one of people knowing what it takes to get a job done and doing it.
She and her husband, who owns his ownbusiness, haven't taken a vacation in 16 years but don't think it's been a sacrifice.
She values the family time she enjoys as well as her work life. "You try to have a balance but it doesn't always work," Lee said.
Her father workedhard all his life andshe's following in his footsteps -- even into retirement.
There was no mention of kicking back and relaxing or taking a cruise around the world when she and her husband recently talked about what they would do in their golden years.
"That's not even in the equation," she said.
Instead, they've started making a list of all the charitable organizations they can help.
And when Lee recently moved offices, the cleaning woman told her she was going to miss her.
Jennifer Rich, Herald business editor, can be reached at 941-745-7087. Find past Focus on Manatee columns at Bradenton.com/columnists.