We evaluate the importance of judgments about work for the attainment process in the "new economy." Findings show continuing links between social origins and work orientations at age 21/22, as well as significant effects of work orientations on occupational outcomes at age 31/32. Higher socio-economic status background, and stronger self-perceived ability, are tied to weaker extrinsic orientations. Young women are more intrinsically oriented than young men. Stronger intrinsic orientations predict holding jobs that offer more intrinsic rewards, self-direction and security. Stronger extrinsic orientations predict higher biweekly earnings (largely via work hours), but not more prestigious, better paying or more secure jobs. Judgments about work, and especially intrinsic orientations, thus remain important precursors of occupational attainments, despite economic turbulence and change in the transition to adulthood.