I am a 55 years old programmer. In my career I worked with too many technologies. Jack of all trades master of none, as they say. My brain is filled up to the brim and new technologies get harder to learn. In my last company I started as developer and had a hard time to keep up. Now I work in QA. I can keep up with the requirements, like Selenium. To pass the trial period (contract to permanent) I used to work 60 hour weeks. I got the permanent position but the grind is too much. I am tired, and getting burned up.
I like my boss. She is very reasonable and (I think) tries to find a way to help me. But she is also a newly certified PM that has no idea how programmers work. This is the first team she manages, I am her first employee on a PIP (Performance Improvement Program). She was manual tester and is a problem matter expert in our team and was "upgraded". When I was trying to explain her that for programmers switching between different tasks takes time, see kept repeating "but you have to be able to multitask". Yes, but making small advances every week in 3 different programs every week is less efficient than working 3 full weeks, one full week on each program.
We have complicated system (dozens of Linux servers in QA and about 100 in production - I am just learning Linux now). But I developed an in-house Selenium/webdriver framework which allows me to write tests in a better way than our brilliant Linux sysadmin started. Less flaky and easier to maintain than what he wrote.
I was thinking I settled OK with my new Selenium framework, I am safe and dialed down to 45-50 hour weeks but my boss (who has no programming experience) is not happy. I received 1.3% pay rise and few weeks later I am now on a PIP with 30-60 days to shape up. Which for me does not make sense: why give me a rise and then put me on PIP?
I really need this job for the benefits and salary is not as important to me as secure employment with benefits. I do not want to change jobs, I like my colleagues, I like what I am doing, and moving to a new company will include the same grind I want to avoid. I think I can manage if I work 60 hour weeks, and I can do it for a while, and I even possibly can find another job if I lose this one. I am not useless or stupid - I am just tired and burned out.
I was thinking to ask for lower salary, and lowering my workload and hours. I can live on 20% lower salary. Yes I will save less for retirement, and will have to work few more years to retire, but it seems to be a better option than losing this job while my performance isn't getting anything better.
I found a related question, Ready to be working for lower salary for less responsibilities, but my situation is different as I am on a PIP.
So my question: is asking for lower salary an option to respond to this PIP? How would that be perceived by my boss? How should I bring it up and what should I avoid mentioning in that conversation?
Edit (I also added few details from my job): OK so consensus is: my work is likely over, and asking for lower salary now will not help.
So IIUC, my game plan should be: try to pass the PIP (working extra hours as needed), and if and when I pass it, consider asking for lower salary with lower workload. Or not.
Edit 2: I did started looking, and job market looks much better than last time I did (especially for Python/Selenium)! So I think I have a much better negotiating position. I will keep you posted, and thanks for all the help!