Taking what may be a permanent break from Breaking Down the Psychogenic Fugue Arc, as were are actually breaking it down via email with one another, albeit slowly.
I don't know how many of you are familiar with this, but d20 Modern has something called starting occupations. d20 Modern classes were very broad, with six basic classes, each based on an ability score. From there you move on to advanced classes, which add slightly more specialization. Then finally you culminate with a prestige classes, which narrow your class into a niche specialization. The base classes are so generic that all the offer for abilities are feats and talents, along with the normal stuff like saving throws and base attack bonus. The talents are very broad and basic, the Strong Hero can gain a +1 to melee damage, the Tough Hero can gain 1/- damage reduction, and so on. To augment this generic nature, and offer a beginning to your character, there are things called occupations that you choose, and they offer access to additional skills, starting money, and so forth.
I have often thought of adding a similar thing into my DnD, primarily because then it gives a tangible benefit for your character's past. I like tangible benefits for background info. I'm debating on whether or not I'd like to add them into my Pathfinder campaign setting, but I am hesitant to do so. I feel like character creation is fairly cluttered with additional stuff already. We have flaws and traits to choose from and those already add two additional sections of stuff to look through and pick from, occupations adds another one. I feel like it would be a fun thing to add, but I also feel like character creation is easy as pie in Pathfinder, and I get so little input on what I should add, alter, or remove from the game from my players, so I tend to go with whatever the Hell I want to do.
So my thought on how I would break it down would go something likes this: some sort of ability score or racial requirement. For instance, Blacksmith might have a physical strength requirement of 11, just something slightly above average to indicate the above average strength necessary to work bellows and hammer on semi-molten metal all day long. The benefits would be either access to Craft (some kind of blacksmithing related craft skill) or a competence bonus on a similar skill. Since I believe every class has Craft as a class skill, the competence bonus would be appropriate. I don't want to play around with your occupation determining your starting wealth, as I don't have the time or inclination to find out the kind of cash faux-medieval occupations brought in, I'm thinking that your starting occupation might modify starting prices for you. For instance, Blacksmith would offer a 10-20% reduction in any metal goods you buy with your starting cash, stuff like metal weapons or armor, crowbars, locks, manacles, etc.
An additional thought would be that perhaps starting occupations could qualify for certain feats. Like Blacksmith allows you to qualify for Power Attack, even if you don't have a Strength of 13 and a +1 base attack bonus. This facet of the idea might be hard to implement though, so I dunno.
I dunno, just a thought I guess. Any input?