Conrad Balatoni's alternative future, however, will be right in front of him this evening.
The Partick Thistle defender and Hearts had been on a common path until deadline day in January last year when a call came in from John Murray, the Tynecastle club's director of football. Murray wanted Balatoni to travel through from Glasgow, where he was living during an earlier loan spell with Thistle, for a meeting but Balatoni had a fair idea what was afoot.
If Murray was going to say there was no future for the player at the club he had supported since moving north from Leeds as an eight-year old, and who he had played for since joining the academy aged 13, he could do it on the phone. And in an instant, a seven-year relationship with Hearts was at an end.
Balatoni had yet to play a first-team game by the time he left Tynecastle, having found it difficult to make the breakthrough in a squad replete with experienced figures and internationalists who would go on to lift the Scottish Cup four months after his departure. The picture has shifted substantially, though, in the intervening 18 months. Hearts have fallen into administration and most of their senior, better-paid figures have moved on. Filling the first-team jerseys now are Balatoni's friends and former colleagues, guys he used to line up alongside for the reserves and youth sides over the years. It is not a racing certainty that Balatoni would have gone on to become a first-team regular as Dylan McGowan, Jamie Walker, Jason Holt et al have done but there is a more than reasonable chance.
The player, though, is philosophical that it is in Partick Thistle's colours, rather than in Hearts maroon, that he will line up at Firhill tonight. Thistle were the club who handed him a second chance after his release and for that he remains grateful. "I was training regularly with Hearts under Csaba Laszlo when I was 17 and 18 but when Jim Jefferies came in he didn't fancy me," he said. "I remember when I was released. I was living in Glasgow with a friend of mine who played with Thistle at the time.
"John Murray phoned me and asked me to come in but I didn't want to travel all the way to Edinburgh. So he just told me my contract wouldn't be renewed. I believed I was good enough to play but better players than me have been released at clubs.
"If I have a good season this year then it would prove a lot of people at Hearts wrong who didn't think I was good enough. I was there for such a long time, so it's going to be a bit weird playing against them. But it's something I have wanted to do ever since I left the club."
Balatoni is not the only Thistle player making the most of a second chance. Jackie McNamara, the club's former manager, took a chance on a raft of players rejected by bigger clubs and moulded them into a close-knit unit. His successor Alan Archibald carried on that good work, took the team to the championship and has now led them to a draw and a win from their opening two SPFL Premiership fixtures.
"A lot of the Thistle boys have been deemed not good enough by SPL teams so they want to go out and prove themselves," admitted Balatoni. "Getting rejected makes you want to show people they were wrong, whatever the job is. Some maybe just needed a change of scenario and a manager that believes in them."
Archibald agreed that he has a squad desperate to prove themselves. "They've all got a hunger to go and show how good they are," he said.
"The likes of Conrad, Steven O'Donnell and others have been rejected by bigger clubs at some point in their careers. If it still annoys them, then show their previous clubs that they made a mistake. If that's what it takes to get the best out of them, then good."
With Hearts beginning the season on -15 points as a result of going into administration, a win for Thistle tonight would take them 19 points clear of the automatic relegation place and almost certainly safe for the season. "It would be more relevant I think if there wasn't a play-off," the manager argued. "That takes away [any comfort zone]. Even if you get 10 points ahead of Hearts you still have a play-off place to worry about."