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What is the best word to refer to the person that I (directly) supervise, in the context of a corporate workplace? The closest I can think of is employee, but that doesn't directly convey a direct supervisor relationship.

Other options I can think of are apprentice (usually used to refer exclusively to someone who is still learning where I come from), underling (patronizing), and worker (again not specific).

For example when describing a project:

My employee designed the front-end of the system while I worked on the critical business logic.
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The workers being supervised don't have a role of being supervised, unlike the supervisor whose role is that of supervision. That's why it's difficult to find an opposite for supervisor. –  Chris Dec 15 '12 at 0:12
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Well, I suppose if underling is too "patronizing," that would rule out minion... –  J.R. Dec 15 '12 at 1:35
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@J.R.: And most likely hireling, lackey, menial, retainer, dogsbody, skivvy, gofer and all the other ways your boss actually refers to you when he's talking to other bosses. –  FumbleFingers Dec 15 '12 at 1:40
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Could you provide more context? Your options suggest a work environment. –  coleopterist Dec 15 '12 at 2:43
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Isn't subordinate the word? –  Mohit Dec 15 '12 at 3:48
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8 Answers 8

direct-report is often used.

I'm having a meeting on Tuesday for all my direct reports.

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What about 'subordinate'? Perhaps a tinge too militaristic, but it is very close in my mind.

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Subordinate is anyone falling below the supervisor in the hierarchy; the OP is asking for those being directly supervised. –  Jim Dec 15 '12 at 4:20
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Not a word, but a phrase immediate subordinate comes to mind! –  Mohit Dec 15 '12 at 5:13
    
@Jim, good point. Perhaps someone with Greek or Latin fluency can make up a word for us with the precise meaning OP intended. –  David Smith Dec 15 '12 at 16:53
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Someone who is in charge of others has charges:

charge n
5. One that is entrusted to another's care or management:

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I imagine in practice most people speak of my staff if they really are "in charge". But OP's supervise implies a somewhat looser relationship - maybe little more than mentor/mentoree, where it would still be credible for the mentor to speak of his charge. –  FumbleFingers Dec 15 '12 at 1:36
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All OP's examples are from the workplace: employee, apprentice, underling, worker, I'm not convinced charge is what he's looking for. –  Jim Dec 15 '12 at 4:19
    
This doesn't sound like an employee but more like a ward or foster child. –  Mitch Dec 15 '12 at 21:49
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From Merriam-Webster, a supervisee is a person being supervised. The word has over 600,000 google hits, so it isn't really outdated.

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IMHO this sounds definitely too old-fashioned for the indicated context. In a reference I would use the person's (first) name or refer to "my direct report", if necessary. –  Drux Dec 15 '12 at 17:08
    
Do you work in IT (as in "my supervisee designed the front-end of the system ...")? I think the term may serve better in other contexts, but of course there may not be a definite "best" (counted or weighed :) answer. –  Drux Dec 16 '12 at 10:58
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Specific context is important because amongst my friends there are the following supervisor/supervised relationships:

Team Lead / Team Member

Office Manager / Staff Member

Manager / Direct Report

Unit Coordinator / Unit Staff Member

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Words not yet mentioned include aide (“An assistant”) and assistant (“A person who assists or helps someone else”). For example, “My assistant designed the front-end of the system.”

Serf (“(strategy games) A worker unit”), slave, and servant also have not been mentioned, but perhaps are no more acceptable than minion, hireling, lackey, menial, retainer, dogsbody, skivvy, gofer mentioned in comments.

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When I hire people, I call them my workers.

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subordinate or supervisee. I would try those

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