Sunday will mark the anniversary of Locke taking charge after the dismissal of John McGlynn, and the rookie manager admits he could never have foreseen the turmoil which would characterise his first 12 months at the helm.
"I'd be lying if I said it's been easy. There's no two ways about it, it's been difficult. When I took the job there's no way I could have foreseen everything that was going to happen. It's been difficult mentally and a real baptism of fire. But hopefully it has made me a better manager.
"I certainly look forward to the day when I can be a proper manager and do the things most other managers get to do. I've never thought about walking away. Don't get me wrong, there have been plenty low Saturday nights, when you think 'can anything else go wrong?' but I'm a positive person and I try to learn from those times.
"I'll never go home and just accept a defeat, but it's important that you keep things in perspective."
Locke's lowest point was the redundancies brought about by administration last June 19. "It was a bleak time to be the manager, seeing people I'd known for a long time lose their jobs. It's hard when everyone's looking to you and the spotlight is on you. I felt emotionally shattered."
As well as friends and family, Locke is indebted to previous Hearts managers as he undertakes one of the toughest tasks in Scottish football. "Billy [Brown] has been an enormous help. I speak to Jim Jefferies and Paulo Sergio all the time and a lot of other boys have been great to me."