In a new policy from my company (non-native English, but English is the corporate language), they use the word "defector" to refer to a person who has quit their job.

I think "defector" has too many and too strong negative connotations around it (some applying to the "defector", but most applying to a company who would call a leaving employee a defector).

"Quitter" doesn't exactly sound great either, and "the person who is about to leave" is a bit long to use at every point where that person is referred to.

So, is there a single word (or very short phrase) for someone who left the company that does not have overly negative connotations?

Something akin to "new employee" or "new hire", but for someone who is about to leave.

Example phrase:

"The Defector writes a farewell text and posts it on the intranet"

Example of related phrase (suggestions for alternative to "defection" are also welcome):

"The defection is communicated locally or group wise"


1 Answer 1


I would refer to someone in this situation as a former employee.

Former referring to something that happened in the past (i.e. the person worked for the company in the past) and employee referring to someone who worked for a salary.

Former employee:

Former is used to describe someone who used to have a particular job, position, or role, but no longer has it.

Reverso Dictionary

This phrase can be dynamic and subject to change, as one could have a former colleague, former boss, and former company (just a few of many other ways to utilize former in this sense)

Former employee tends to have a more positive connotation than defector and can be more personable in conversation, when referring to one who once worked for a company.

For example:

My former employee writes a farewell text and posts it on the intranet

  • 3
    Some companies try to stay in touch with former employees--calling them alumni--depends on the situation. Try workplace.se for more thoughts.@Adrian Schmidt
    – Xanne
    May 16, 2018 at 10:43
  • I was originally gonna say alumni too, but the definition doesn't quite fit the employment situation, as it is more commonly and formally used to refer to one who has graduated an educational program. May 16, 2018 at 11:07
  • 1
    @JessicaTiberio Alumni can certainly be used in an employment sense. It was even in the style guide of a company where I used to work—and I added it to technical documentation when crediting the contributions of former employees. May 16, 2018 at 16:56

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