April 1, 2009

After three decades, Nordeng retires

By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer

After more than three decades at the Watford City Post Office, Phyllis Nordeng has decided it’s time to move on to a new chapter in her life.
“I’ve been with the Post Office for 33 years,” says Nordeng. “I’m retiring, but not really. I’m ready for a change of pace, but it’ll be a while before I’m ready to shut down for good.”
Nordeng’s last day as the Watford City Postmaster was Tuesday, March 31, 2009. She wasn’t eligible for retirement for one more year, but due to the economic state of the nation, the United States Postal Service offered those employees close to retirement a chance to take early retirement instead of laying off workers.
“I was planning to retire next year,” adds Nordeng. “But when they offered the early outs I decided to take it, especially if I can help keep other people in their jobs.”
According to Nordeng, the USPS needs to cut down on staff because the amount of mail has dropped due to the economic troubles.
“Companies aren’t advertising as much and that has affected the USPS,” states Nordeng. “Mail from advertising is something we always seem to have, so it has been a big change to see so much less.”
During her 33 years, Nordeng has noticed other changes, like postage and automation.
“Postage was 13 cents when I first started,” comments Nordeng.
When Nordeng began her postal career as a part-time clerk, systems were much different than the high-tech computer systems they use today. There was no online postal service or scanners, everything was done by hand.
“The Postal Service has changed with the times,” says Nordeng. “I think the automation changes with all of the computerization have been the biggest change.”
Working in a small post office, Nordeng had the privilege of working in all areas of the office, which she says kept her job interesting, because every day was different.
“The best part of my job is my customers,” says Nordeng. “Although I will miss my customers, I think I will miss my employees the most. They’ve become like family to me and I’m sure I’ll have to stop in and visit a lot.”
Nordeng has never considered herself to be an inside person and she always thought she would work outdoors.
“I never expected to stay at the post office for 33 years, but it was a good career for me,” comments Nordeng. “At this point I am excited to do something outside. I have a couple of offers that will allow me to work outside when it warms up a little more. I am looking forward to that and also to being able to volunteer for different things.”
After 33 years of seeing Phyllis at the post office, residents of Watford City should expect to see some different faces around. But Nordeng is sure that the good customer service that residents have come to expect from the employees of the Watford City Post Office will stay even after she has left.