I've had the odd odd job in my time. Sometimes they're what's available; sometimes they supplement a "real" job. My more interesting ones have developed out of hobbies, while others I wouldn't do again for any amount of money.
My first odd job was mystery shopping — pretending to be a regular customer to evaluate products or service for companies ranging from cell phone service to restaurants. I've been a security guard for sporting events and concerts, I've handed out swag for new TV shows, and I've performed as a belly dancer at weddings and corporate parties.
These side gigs have a lot of benefits, as you can imagine. Obviously there's the extra money that comes in, which is helpful to make ends meet or pay off debt snowballs or just stash away. There’s the satisfaction of making a hobby self-supporting — I was able to turn dance classes and pretty costumes into a successful side business for many years (and the food at those weddings was always delicious).
There's also the mental benefit of knowing that you are not only good for desk-jockey work. Having different types of work helps keep the mind flexible and options open. In some cases side work can develop into a part-time or even full-time occupation — think of all the bloggers who quit their day jobs to write for the web in some fashion.
As I’ve gotten further along in my career, I notice that the opportunities for interesting side work come along less frequently - or perhaps I am simply less inclined to notice them. It no longer makes as much sense as it once did to pop into a store to do a mystery shop for $7 plus a $2 reimbursement. But I kind of miss the days when someone would ask what my weekend plans were, and I could say that I intended to work the door at a football game or perform at a party that was being filmed for My Super Sweet 16 — and that either gig would be money in the bank on top of something to talk about!
What’s the most interesting odd job you’ve ever done?