This study tests the core hypotheses of Karasek's job demand-control model: high job demands (workload) in combination with low job control (autonomy) increase strains (job dissatisfaction; strain hypothesis), whereas high job demands in combination with high job control increase learning and development in the job (here: learning new skills in the first job; learning hypothesis). These hypotheses are tested in two ways: (a) the mere combination of both job characteristics is associated with the expected outcomes, and (b) a statistical interaction between both job characteristics in predicting the outcomes is expected. A large dataset (n = 2,212) of young workers in their first job was used to test all hypotheses. As young workers are presumably still in the process of adjusting themselves to their work environment, we expected that the effects of work characteristics on work outcomes would be stronger for this group than for more experienced workers. The results confirm both the strain and the learning hypothesis. We found a combined effect of both job characteristics, as well as a statistical interaction between both variables. The lowest level of job satisfaction was found in the "high strain" job, whereas the highest increase in skills was found in the "active" job. The consequences of these findings for theory and practice are discussed.