Gary Locke admits he can walk away from Tynecastle with his head held high following his dismissal last Monday.
Locke, named Premiership Manager of the Month for April despite the club's relegation to the Championship, believes the legacy he has left behind will serve the club well for years to come.
New owner Ann Budge chose to replace Locke, and his No 2 Billy Brown, with a management team of Robbie Neilson and Craig Levein, but Locke shows no animosity to his former Hearts team mates.
Speaking to Sky Sports News the 38-year-old, who captained Hearts to Scottish Cup glory in 1998, said: "It was tough, but that's football and we have to move on.
"My chapter at Hearts is over and I have to try and look elsewhere. I am hoping to get back into football as soon as possible, although I realise that will be difficult."
Locke, who refused to speak about Neilson and Levein, drafted in a number of promising youngsters last season after Hearts were hit with a transfer embargo and a 15-point deduction for entering administration.
Forward trio Sam Nicholson, Billy King and Dale Carrick, plus defensive duo Callum Paterson and Jordan McGhee gave notice of fine futures at the highest level and Locke is hopeful his former club will bounce back at the first attempt next season.
"We have had to do a lot of groundwork with these boys but I certainly think next season they will be a lot better for what they have experienced and I wish them all the best," he added.
"You can see by the results towards the end of the season that that is the reason we have been given this award. People have certainly noticed that we have done a reasonable job."
Locke and his backroom staff were recognised after they amassed 10 points from three games during the month, three more than Celtic, St Mirren and St Johnstone, with Aberdeen next best on six.