Previous research has established that paid care work is typically undertaken by women and that this work is often poorly rewarded in terms of pay and promotion opportunities. Much less is known about the reasons why women enter these jobs or their experiences of this work. This paper examines the motivations and experiences of two groups of care workers: childcare workers and dental assistants in Queensland in 2009 (N=1,767). We examine intrinsic, extrinsic and overall job satisfaction and the effects of job characteristics, work experience and demographic characteristics on job satisfaction. We find that childcare workers are less satisfied with their jobs than dental assistants on all three measures, despite a greater proportion nominating intrinsic reasons for entering the occupation. The most important factors predicting job satisfaction for both groups are day-to-day work experiences such as control over weekly rosters and entitlements that enable work-family balance. We conclude that although love of the job may be a strong drawcard into care occupations for some women, experiences may not live up to expectations. Moreover, there is considerable diversity across these groups in motivations and outcomes indicating that it is impossible to view all care occupations as similar in terms rewards, outcomes and experiences.