But if there is living proof that the urge to give up should be resisted it exists in the shape of the former Millwall defender Tony Witter.
The 33-year-old centre-back, who had made 99 appearances when released last summer, was ready to accept his career was over after failing to find a new League club.
"I spent four months at Northampton but the promise of a contract never materialised," Witter said. "Torquay offered me one after a month on trial - but the terms were not very good.
"So I went to Welling, who are coached by a good friend of mine, and was starting to concentrate on my old job as an electrical engineer."
But Witter's talents had not been forgotten by everyone, as he discovered last week when the Scunthorpe manager, Brian Laws, tracked him down, desperate to find cover for injured regulars, Russ Wilcox and Richard Logan, to keep alive his Second Division promotion bid.
"It did not take me long to say yes," admitted Witter, whose performance against fellow promotion-hunters Cambridge United on Saturday helped deny the East Anglian side a 10th straight home win.