If Paul Heckingbottom sounds cold on the subject of Craig Levein’s job being on the line in today’s Edinburgh derby, it is only because experience has made him that way.
The Hibs manager can, after all, recall two occasions in which his opposite number in a game was sacked before he got the chance to share a post-match drink with them, and admits there could be more which have slipped his mind.
This, as he knows to his cost, is a profession with a brutally short lifespan in which your actions can even lead to assaults on innocent family members.
Contrarily, he insists that everyone who gets the chance to get involved in such a volatile profession should grab it.
“You only need to look at the stats and you can see it is a job that lasts, on average, less than 12 months. That’s the way it is,” said Yorkshireman Heckingbottom.
“No matter where you are managing, you understand that it can be tough, people put a lot into it. It’s a way of life and Craig will be putting everything he can into it.
“So there’s always a respect, an understanding of the difficulty of the job. But it’s not my concern, because the fact is, whoever it is you’re playing against, you want to beat them.
“Sometimes my sides have won games and then the opposition manager has lost his
job before we’ve even gone in the room afterwards.
“That happened to Sean O’Driscoll at Walsall when he lost his job. There might be more.
“It sounds like you’re cold, but it happens all the time and sometimes there are occasions you can’t remember it happening because that’s just how it is.”
Which begs the question, why would any right-thinking person want to be a manager in the first place?
“We had that consideration before I decided to take the job at Barnsley, my home town club,” said the 42-year-old father of five.
“At first I wasn’t interested in doing it, being a youth coach had been my thing and I had just been moved up from the 18s, to the 21s and then the first team.
“You are giving up job security and chances are you are going to be moving all over the country.
“That’s not ideal for a family. But then I got a different perspective because you’re making the decisions you want to make for the good of the club and all of a sudden you’re getting a taste for it and enjoying the responsibility.
“I think we were about 14th when we took over, just carried on, won the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, got to the play-offs and went up.
“I said to the wife at that point, ‘If we go up there’s no way I’m not doing it’.
“I had been offered a different job as well with the FA, with the England teams. And they were great. They said go get that experience and we will still be here for you if you come back.
“So I could’ve been there, but I cracked on and got on with it. It was a different job. Totally different.
“The one thing you can’t recreate is this experience that you get. You get it tough but if you get it right then it doesn’t half make it better.
“I know not everyone thinks like that. Some get in and say, ‘It’s not for me’.
“But I learned after being a manager now that I’d say to anyone that you’ve got to try it. There are loads who set out to be a manager and find out it’s not for them and don’t like it.
“My mates in coaching who say they’re not into managing – I now say, ‘Listen, if you get the chance then you’ve got to go for it’.
“Getting in that seat and doing it, I loved it.”
For the most part anyway.
As Craig Levein is finding out just now, it is a role which can place a huge strain not only on the individual but also their nearest and dearest.
“Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how hard you try, you still take things home with you,” the Easter Road gaffer continued.
“To be fair, it is better now I am up in Scotland, compared to what it was like when I was local.
“When I left Barnsley and left for Leeds, my nephew got targeted over that. He was at school, and there aren’t that many Heckingbottoms about.
“That is what is bang out of order. You just can’t prepare your family for it being like that because you don’t know what other people are going to do in bad times.”