Ex-Sunderland and Hartlepool United defender opens up on his future after Motherwell exit
However the former Sunderland youth and ex-Hartlepool United defender is happy to prove his worth again after being left chasing a new challenge because of the pandemic.
Hartley made more than 200 League One appearances for Hartlepool, Stevenage and Bristol Rovers and helped Plymouth to successive League Two play-off campaigns before moving to Motherwell three years ago.
But he now faces an uncertain future amid a difficult financial landscape with no start date for the English leagues and no clarity on when crowds will return either side of the border.
Hartley told PA: "It is frustrating. Every manager in the past has tried to re-sign me but it's just unfortunate now most of them aren't really in work.
"But being in Scotland, it's like out of sight, out of mind. You are back to the drawing board, albeit I have probably played 400 league games. You still feel like you have got to prove your worth in this game. It's something I am more than prepared to still do.
"It's a bitter pill to swallow leaving. But I leave with no hard feelings or negativity. I'm a positive person and (have) been positive every day. I tried to make everyone around me better at that club and feel like I have.
"I am happy with the work I have done and I am just looking forward to what the future holds because I want a new challenge."
Motherwell also reached two cup finals during Hartley's stay and he is eager to move to another club with similar ambitions.
"I have got a few offers and I am speaking to my agent, Dave Gordon, daily so I don't want to jump in.
"I want to be working in an ambitious environment. I don't want to lose that excitement so I am just waiting and hopefully this will blow over soon and doors will start to open."