I too live in a noisy environment. No office, just a cubicle in a small cubicle farm.
I have worked for small companies for some time. They all have some common issues related to respecting experience in others.
I have to block out all kinds of distracting chatter, laughter, and people with the 'my oversite is your emergency' need it now attitude.
It is frustrating that many business managers and small company owners can't understand the need for uninterrupted FOCUS.
I am with a company that built a new building almost 2 years ago. I voiced my concern for a noise reduced environment (maybe an office with a door) during the planning phase and they just don't get it. In my case, part of the problem is that they are much younger than I am and they think they know everything. It doesn't matter that I have been doing this type of work for almost 30 years!
I once had one of the owners tell me to make sure I didn't get Vista when I was about to purchase a new company PC. Talk about micro-managing and being a MOTO (Master Of The Obvious)!
But when they need to focus for a deadline or to prepare for a meeting it is ok to shut their door and put the phone on do not disturb.
When I try to explain that the ability to do all the neat things that they hired me to do is the result of concentration, focus, and building an entire world in your head that needs to be recreated as 1's and 0's, all I get is the deer in the headlights look and a "you can make it work out".
I am giving some serious consideration to changing from working for small companies creating solutions and shoring up the infrastructure to joining a software development company as a developer. The change from being a jack-of-all trades IT Manager with strong experience and enjoyment of programming and database development to a full time developer is a little scary. I have always enjoyed variety in the things I do. But then I think of not having to get under desks to plug in cables, not having to deal with servers and silly printer problems, it looks pretty good.
Any thoughts or advice are appreciated
"There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves." -- Will Rogers