Hi Charmed! I would not trade even ONE day of my experience in as a grocery store decorator. I learned how to be fast on so many things. Torting, icing & filling a cake quickly and accurately for one. And I can whip out a great looking BC rose fairly quickly. I do enjoy however working at my own pace so I can make things as perfect as I possibly can. But my grocery store bakery experience from years ago was priceless! I learned so many tricks on getting BC super smooth since that is all we did, and also we didn't have time to do the crusting viva paper towel method so I learned other secrets for fast smoothing techniques on flat and sphere surfaces. I encourage every decorator to at least work one year at a high volume bakery. You definitely earn a new respect for your fellow decorators in those positions. I will never forget my first day there. I had never worked with fudge icing before, only my homemade BC. I had to decorate a fudge dessert cake to the exact specificatons in the book. Basically it showed a photo and I had to copy it. I had never done anything like that before. The decorations were minimal at best but it was the icing technique that gave the cake its beautiful classy look. Needless to say, I failed miserably. The cake had fully defrosted from the freezer and talk about crumb city! It took me 5 tries to get even one that was sellable, oh and it took me the entire day to do those 5! Good thing I had a great boss who took me under her wing instead of fireing me on the spot...LOL! It got much better as the week wore on. By the end of my first month I was cranking out cakes just like the head decorator, and she had been a grocery store decorator for over 7 years!
I did hate that my creativity was very limited, very rarely were we given the opportunity to create our own designs and fondant work was out of the question. I did develope carpal tunnel due to the break neck pace, so ever going that fast and furious on a daily basis again is out of the question, but it gave me a treasure trove of ability and knowledge and a pretty great paycheck on a steady basis