So you’re a medieval peasant. You’ve decided that you don’t want to be a farmer, or a soldier, or a blind beggar. What professional options are available to you? Why, to be a rat catcher, of course!
Rodents were a tremendous problem in the medieval cities. They ran wildly through the streets and snuck into granaries to eat the food within. The local magistrate would therefore employ citizens to take care of the furry menace, typically offering a single coin for every ten rat tails provided. You could recognize these fine entrepreneurs by their trappings – a long rat killing stick, a small beagle (which they used to hunt down their prey), and a huge cloud of flies wherever they went.
The main problem with the job was the short life expectancy. Rat catchers had an odd tendency to come down with the plague with great frequency. Not to mention ratbite fever, choriomeningitis, and leptospirosis. It had something to do with constant exposure to diseased vermin and traveling through filthy sewer systems on a regular basis. The fact that soap wasn’t available may have also contributed a bit. But hey, it paid well. You could get a bowl of porridge on just a day’s pay!