Newt Gingrich was in his 20s when he was hired at West Georgia College as a history professor. He had just returned from Belgium, where he was doing research for his doctoral dissertation.
"He was very much a person of intellect," says Mel Steeley, who taught history at the college for four decades and helped bring Gingrich to the school in 1970. "He would wander across campus and didn't notice people. He'd have something in his mind, always be thinking about something. When he first came, you kind of wondered if he was a student or a professor."
Presidential candidate Rick Santorum consistently polls near the bottom of the Republican pack. But he appears undeterred in his bid for the White House. Santorum's work life in his 20s provides some insight into why he perseveres despite long odds.
The former senator from Pennsylvania is best known for his conservative social positions, especially his opposition to abortion rights and gay marriage. He's also known for expressing what he thinks very frankly.
Perhaps more than any other Republican running for president this year, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann has railed against taxes. She says they're too high, and that the current tax code should be repealed.
But Bachmann had a somewhat surprising early career: going after tax evaders as a prosecutor for the Internal Revenue Service.
'Know Your Enemy'?
At times, the congresswoman and former state senator has seemed to deny that for nearly her entire professional life, she's been on the public payroll.