One of the main reasons I wanted to work self-employed again was independence and freedom of choice. Working where and when, but most importantly how and for whom seemed appealing enough to quit my 9-to-5.
Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links (marked as such) and it is not updated regularly, so the information might be outdated already. Also, most external sites mentioned in this post are only available in German or focused the German job market.
High Standards and Compromise 🍏🍐🧺
Many employers seem to see themselves as modern and "green", eco-friendly companies. Proud about first steps towards sustainability, like the weekly fruit basket from a local organic farm, but maybe also driven by unscrupulous greenwashing marketing, you won't expect a lot of self-criticism.
Greenwashing Company Culture?
In consequence, as a web developer who favors ethical and ecological jobs, I keep getting a lot of work offers that simply do not match my standards. I am willing to make a compromise, but at least some aspects should match.
This is especially true for mainstream business sites like LinkedIn that seem to attract a lot of recruiters who target the masses and don't care about collateral damage.
Job Search Alternatives 🔍🐕
Alternative: use special job sites like Impactify, Greenjobs, or Jobverde (currently all in German ), or even more specialized and sustainability- / ecology-focused portals like Jobbörse für erneuerbare Energien und Nachhaltigkeit.
You can also use job platforms that specialize in IT, like Honeypot (affiliate link), 4Scotty (affiliate link), or freelancing sites like WorkGenius, 9am, Freelancermap or freelance.de. The companies on Honeypot and 4Scotty are usually mostly looking for full-time, on-site employees to join their teams, while freelancermap specialize in offers for contractors.
All of them seem to focus on the German / European market, so you only compete with other developers who have to pay the same taxes and high German living costs, and sometimes you can even check other profiles for daily and hourly rates to see if your own rates are within the normal limits.
I have been using all of the above, and I should add the disclaimer, that the links to 4Scotty and Honeypot are affiliate links, so they might hopefully give me some financial compensation if someone registers for their service.
I also get occasional useful contacts via StackOverflow, and I have been working via intermediary agencies as well.
In my personal experience, all of those are still much better for a green web developer than Xing or LinkedIn. But it can always get worse.
Incomparable Rates and Standards
There are other platforms like Upwork and fiverr, which I can't recommend at least from my personal perspective due to their unbelievably low prices / rates, probably caused by international competition with lower living costs or exchange rates. Judging by reviews, some of those platforms seem to achieve an impossible paradox by making both providers and customers unhappy at the same time.
Compromise and Pragmatism
Talking about compromise and greenwashing, it might become impossible to find someone that you really want to work for, once you get too picky about what "sustainable" means to you.
Working for a company, even more so when several agencies are involved, you will have to compromise, use their tools and abide to their standards.
So maybe classic "freelancing" isn't for you?
There are a lot of startups and fellow developers and designers that might need your work. Maybe you just did not meet your perfect partners and customers yet.
Why not grow your professional network in real life?
Reflecta is an online community for "change makers" where you can connect to ethical startups and other like-minded individuals focused on sustainable development (SDG).
Attending local and virtual meetups like the Sustainable Offsite Meetup is another opportunity to extend your network. Going to co-working spaces, maker spaces, and repair cafés might be another one.
Open Source Contribution
If you are looking for an idea for a new software project, why not contribute to an existing open-source project? Building software for a good cause can help your learn and build your development skills as well as show off your work and get to know people all at the same time.
Sprechen Sie Deutsch 🇩🇪
As a native speaker, I tend not to notice the language barrier. But even at jobs and companies where you don't need to speak any German, you might stumble upon code comments, chat messages or legal forms in German.
So if you're an expat having plans to stay in Germany at least for some years, try to learn the German language! It is hard, as I have been told, but it can also be funny and poetic, and it helps to boost your chances both professionally and personally if you speak the local language at least a little bit.
Parts of this article have already been published in my personal weblog at open-mind-culture.org.
Top comments (3)
Is this only for people live in germany or anyone can find a freelance job there?
All platforms, that I mentioned, seem to focus on Germany, some include or plan to include Austria and Switzerland, but there are a lot of fully remote jobs these days. Freelancermap states that they are global, while Honeypot is a platform for developers in Europe, and Freelance.de only lists projects in Germany. 4scotty will expand from Germany to include Austria and Switzerland soon.