This longitudinal study tested a theoretically derived pattern of specific relationships between work characteristics and outcomes. The research model proposed four central domains of the work situation (i.e. task characteristics, workload, social support and unmet career expectations) and three important psychological outcomes (i.e. intrinsic work motivation, emotional exhaustion and turnover intention). More specifically, it was hypothesized that intrinsic work motivation is primarily predicted by challenging task characteristics; emotional exhaustion is primarily predicted by a high workload and lack of social support; and turnover intention is primarily predicted by unmet career expectations. Furthermore, we hypothesized that (i) the research model is generalizable over samples; (ii) work characteristics at Time 1 influence outcomes at Time 2; and (iii) the proposed causal pattern of relationships holds over different occupational groups. These hypotheses were tested by means of self-report questionnaires among two samples (bank employees and teachers) using a full-panel design with two waves (one-year interval). Results showed that Hypothesis 1 was confirmed in both samples. Hypothesis 2 was confirmed in sample 1, but not in sample 2. In the latter sample, we found evidence for reverse causation. Hence, Hypothesis 3 could not be confirmed.