A Career Line is a step-by-step instruction manual that will take you from A to B in the most efficient manner possible – don’t go to jail, don’t stop at GO and collect $200.
A Career Path is a trajectory that can lead you to many stops along the way, some good, some bad, some regret, some you wish you could visit again and again. It doesn’t go straight, it’s not an arrow, it’s not the direct route to get you from A to B.
The Line is a highway that’ll get you there in a pre-known point of time, the path is the road less travelled, composed of many backroads, twists, and turns that’ll still get there. We learn more about life, career, development, training, etc on the paths, they force us to try new things, sometimes to create our own path when the current path isn’t working, to reset and try again.
The line is perfectly good as well, it’s safe, straightforward, consistent, predictable – you can see the end and the end can see you.
Can I be on a path if I am in the same company, same job for many years? For life? Sure you can. There is nothing saying a path has to take you to starting 5 companies, working for 10 and jumping from place to place.
It’s what you do on that path, in that organization, at that time, in that position that matters.
One is safe predictable and the other is a complete unknown – the question is which one do you want to guide your career.