In a longitudinal study of school leavers, four occupational groups-satisfied employed, dissatisfied employed, unemployed, and tertiary students-were compared on a range of psychological measures. Initially, there were no group differences with respect to measures or demographic characteristics, making interpretation of later differences easier and suggesting a causal connection between employment status and psychological well-being. In longitudinal analyses, the satisfied employed and students showed higher self-esteem, less depressive affect, less externality, and less negative mood than the dissatisfied employed and unemployed. Similar cross-sectional differences were observed on social alienation, hopelessness, psychological distress, and life satisfaction. Longitudinal differences were due to improvements by the satisfied employed and/or student groups, not to deterioration by the other groups.