I'm looking for a short, snappy alternative word/phrase meaning "person who has left the company".

I have very limited space available (20 characters) for a label that conveys (in prose):

List of tasks that are open but assigned to somebody who has left the company

I've tried Thesaurus.com but can't find anything graceful with this precise meaning. "Ex-staff" for example, is adequately short, but equally unpleasant.

Given our wonderful language's habit of a word for every occasion I'm surprised I'm finding nothing suitable!

closed as too localized by Mitch, Kristina Lopez, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者, Robusto, FumbleFingers Jan 24 '13 at 22:53

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  • 1
    Former employee has 15 characters. – Andrew Leach Jan 24 '13 at 15:48
  • I have 20 characters to express the whole thing: List of tasks that are open but assigned to somebody who has left the company – Andi Mohr Jan 24 '13 at 15:58
  • You may need to update the question title. – Andrew Leach Jan 24 '13 at 16:02
  • Why? The 20 character parameter is only mentioned in the body of the question. But if you'd like to edit please go for it! – Andi Mohr Jan 24 '13 at 16:14
  • There we are. In fact that's only 22 characters. – Andrew Leach Jan 24 '13 at 16:18

I'd call those orphaned tasks; they're still alive, but their parent is gone.

  • I like this! Elegant. However, my users tend to struggle unless terms are sufficiently blunt in their purpose. Having said that, I may still go with this, it's good. – Andi Mohr Jan 24 '13 at 16:16

If they are simply tasks that need to be done, why does it matter that they were left by former employees? Try: Unfinished or undelegated tasks

  • Unfortunately, they aren't simply tasks that need to be done. They are specifically those assigned to people who have left. – Andi Mohr Jan 24 '13 at 16:21

Ex-colleague or past/former colleague? Ex-workmate or past/former workmate? 'Former shipmate' if chumminess is permitted. 'Departee, but that implies ongoing process, and 'departed' is definitely not appropriate!

'Escapee' or 'gone AWOL' if your situation allows such levity; 'deserter' if you're feeling bitter.

  • It's a business document so levity is best avoided, and our 'deserters' may not all have 'deserted' voluntarily! – Andi Mohr Jan 24 '13 at 16:00
  • The other suggestions are OK but are still a bit too long for my tastes! – Andi Mohr Jan 24 '13 at 16:01

I'll throw my hat in:

Masterless tasks.

  • Thanks for the suggestion, unfortunately I need the precision of 'former employee'. Masterless would also apply to those tasks that have never been assigned. For what I'm doing this is a subtle but important distinction. – Andi Mohr Jan 24 '13 at 17:54

Here is bluntness: abandoned tasks.

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