Keith Urban Recalls His Worst Job Ever: ‘I Hated It’

Keith Urban makes a good living by now doing what he loves, but it wasn’t always that way. The singer-songwriter recalls a job he had, long before his country music career got off the ground, one that left an unfortunate lasting impression on him.

“Telemarketing,” he tells his record label, when asked about the job he disliked the most. “I hated it! By all accounts, I was actually pretty good at it, and my boss was really upset that I wanted to quit, ‘cause he said, ‘You’d actually be pretty good at it,’ other than I was just too brutally honest.”

The object Urban was selling was a franking machine, a specific postal device that Urban now admits he didn’t sell quite as well as perhaps he could have.

“Back then, you would put postal impressions on an envelope and send them out, instead of buying a whole stack of stamps,” Urban recalls. “So, you had this thing called a franking machine, and you’d pre-load it with a whole bunch of pre-paid for stamps. And you just put the envelope in … So, if you’re putting out a whole bunch of mail from a business, it’s much better to get a franking machine, than have someone go to the post office all the time. I would have this whole long pitch about, ‘Hi, I’m Keith, blah, blah, blah, what volume of mail would you say you do every week?’”

Although it’s been decades since Urban was a telemarketer, he still recalls one of his more memorable conversations with a potential customer, one that led to the end of his ill-fated career of trying to sell people things they didn’t need.

“I was talking to this lady from a florist, and she was so sweet, and she goes, ‘Oh, I’d say I send out about three letters a week, love,'” Urban remembers. “And then I’m supposed to say, ‘Well, then you need a franking machine…’ (laughs) ‘cause it’s on the script, you know?’ I’m going, ‘I’m so sorry, you don’t need what we’re selling. I’m sorry to bother you.’ And she goes, ‘No, no, tell me about this. What are you selling?’ She was the perfect customer, and I went, ‘I promise you. You don’t need this thing. It costs a fortune. You don’t need it. You don’t need it.’

“She goes, ‘No, but tell me about it. I said, ‘Honestly, I’m not even going to waste your time. You’re so lovely, but thank you so much. Have a great day,’ and I hung up. My boss was standing behind me,” he adds with a laugh, “and he goes, ‘They all need franking machines. They all need…’ I was like, ‘She didn’t. I hate this job. I quit.’ And that was it. I wasn’t cut out to sell things.”

Urban may not have been cut out to sell things, but he is cut out to make music. The New Zealand native will be inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame this fall, an honor that he at one time could have never dreamed he would achieve.

“To be recognized as a writer is extraordinary, because I’ve always loved songwriting,” Urban tells the Associated Press. “When I started really writing poetry in school, and I started writing songs just out of a desire to not be stuck, always singing somebody else’s song, playing in cover bands, and realizing “This is going nowhere for me. I want to write my own songs.”

Urban will resume his Keith Urban: The Las Vegas Residency at Zappos Theater in Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in November. Find music and tour dates at