Most of my ancestors had ordinary occupations, like farmer, schoolteacher, preacher, and the occasional lawyer and political office holder. A couple blacksmiths, too.
My grandfather, Peter Stoner, as a youth in Kansas, would catch gophers for bounty. He told me this firsthand, and also wrote it in his autobiography.
His son, my uncle Willis Stoner, was a propulsion engineer. He designed boat propellers. During WWII, he worked on the atomic bomb. His wife-to-be, Katherine Tindell, ran the cyclotron at Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Through the autobiography a cousin once removed of my mother's, I learned that his branch of the family, who moved to northern California, was rather interesting. His father, my mother's cousin, John Secrist, played fiddle as backup to Eddy Peabody, when he was still in high school. Around 1931, he built a portable saw mill, and milled lumber for not only his own house, but neighbor's houses, as well. He was listed in the 1930 census as having a goat dairy.
His brother-in-law, Vern Steadman, when first married, panned for gold and rode the rodeo circuit before settling down to owning a sporting goods store. He was also a gunsmith.
The oddest job I, myself, have ever done, was I worked for about a year or so in my late 20's as an urchin cleaner. (That's sea urchins, not unruly children.) The urchins were collected by divers and sold to the processing plants. They would then go through an assembly line of work stations: the shells were cracked and the contents emptied into plastic baskets. From this moment on, they must stay in cold, salted water. The next station (the cleaning station), was kept at about 45 degrees F, depending on the ocean temperature that day. There the workers picked the bits of shell and spine, and the guts, out of the basket, leaving the gonads (the edible parts). Then they are iced down in water with salt and alum for a couple of hours. Then they are moved to the packing stations. The plant did two types of packing. The best quality roe would be packed carefully in wooden boxes, to be sent mostly to Japan, and sold as-is. This packing was done by primarily Hispanic women, who were paid quite well for the job, as it was difficult, and took an artistic eye and a light touch. I trained on this, after an immigration raid took many of the workers, and they were having trouble getting the urchin processed. I was not good enough. The other packing was bulk packing, in which the lower quality roe would be packed in large styrofoam trays, and sent to Japan to be made into uni paste. It took less talent. However, as the roe was less firm, this packing had to be done in iced vats of saltwater. The temperature varied according to the temperature of the ocean, but was usually around 25 to 30 degrees F (For those of you used to centigrade, pure water freezes at 32 degrees F. The salt would allow it to be taken down to lower temperatures.) One time when I was on bulk packing, the water seemed even colder than usual. I looked at the thermometer in the tank, and it said 14 degrees. We could not wear gloves, because the roe is too delicate. Needless to say, I was the only "gringo" that lasted more than 3 days at the job.